Promotion- and prevention-focused coping: A meta-analytic examination of regulatory strategies in the work stress process
We provide a meta-analytic examination of the regulatory strategies that employees adopt to cope with different types of stressors in the workplace and how these strategies are linked to work and personal outcomes. Drawing from regulatory focus theory, we introduce a new taxonomy of promotion- and prevention-focused coping that complements the traditional taxonomy of problem- and emotion-focused coping in the transactional theory of stress. In addition, we propose that challenge stressors tend to evoke promotion-focused coping, whereas hindrance stressors tend to evoke prevention-focused coping. As a pair of important coping mechanisms in the work stress process, promotion-focused coping is positively related to employees’ job performance, job attitudes, and personal well-being, whereas prevention-focused coping is negatively related to these outcomes. We conducted an original meta-analysis of coping strategies in the workplace and tested the hypotheses with 550 effect sizes drawn from 156 samples that involved a total of 75,344 employees. We also tested the tenability of the proposed stressor-coping-outcome processes using meta-analytic path models and further examined the robustness of these models using full-information bootstrapping technique. The results converge to show that promotion- and prevention-focused coping serve as important intervening mechanisms that account for the relationships between work stressors and individual outcomes.