Interpretation of observed relations between job stressors and job strains in cross-sectional surveys is often ambiguous because of possible 3rd variables (both stable background factors, such as personality, and transitory occasion factors, such as mood). In this longitudinal study, negative affectivity (NA) and strains were assessed both in college and later on the job. Stressors were assessed only on the job. Evidence was found that some background factors affected measures of job stressors and job strains in that college measures were significantly related to subsequent measures on the job. Relations between job stressors and job strains, however, were in most cases not affected significantly when prior strains and NA were controlled for. Furthermore, the results suggested that NA measures are subject to occasion factors.
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