Understanding the role of personality in the coping with work stress

Adriana Ortega, Abbey Tan

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


While research has extensively explored the connections between personality, coping strategies, and stress, there's a noticeable gap in the literature when it comes to job-related stress. This gap becomes even more apparent when considering the intricate relationships between coping strategies, personality
traits, and job stress. As such, a rigorous examination of these relationships can provide valuable insights into how subtle personality traits influence the selection of coping strategies and, in turn, their effects on individual stress experiences. This study aims to investigate the influence of personality on coping with job stress. To achieve this, we examine not only personality dimensions but also delve into personality facets when exploring the intricate web of personality-coping-job stress relationships. We employed a quantitative, cross-sectional approach to gather data through an online questionnaire.
Our sample consisted of 350 individuals from Malaysia, aged between 20 and 70, all actively employed in full-time white-collar occupations. The preliminary analysis revealed distinct associations between personality traits and coping strategies: (1) Neuroticism: Individuals scoring higher on the neuroticism trait were significantly more likely to employ the coping strategy of "Seeking Emotional Support" as they navigated work-related stress. (2)Extraversion: Individuals exhibiting greater extraversion were more inclined to employ a diverse array of coping strategies, including "Substance Use," "Humour," "Seeking Emotional Support," and "Problem Solving." (3) The conscientiousness trait was associated with the use of "Seeking Emotional Support" and "Problem Solving" as coping mechanisms. Further examination of personality facets revealed a mediation pathway: Extraversion Facet – ActivityLevel. This mediation pathway shows how specific facets of personality contribute to coping mechanisms and, subsequently, influence stress outcomes in the workplace. These findings have practical implications for workplace well-being and management. To make the most of Problem-Solving as a coping strategy, organizations can implement initiatives that equip employees with practical problem-solving techniques. This not only helps in effectively managing job stress but also boosts overall productivity, benefiting both employees and the company. Promoting a workplace culture that actively encourages employees to seek emotional support can significantly enhance their wellbeing. Managers and supervisors should create safe spaces and opportunities for employees to request support, fostering a healthier and more supportive workplace environment. In conclusion the findings provide a deeper understanding of how each individual's unique characteristics sculpt their response to workplace stress. Beyond mere academic value, this study goes further to shed light on the specific needs of the Malaysian workforce. It identifies the essential tools and resources necessary to cater to these distinct requirements. This knowledge is a pivotal step towards fostering employee well-being and nurturing the overall health of organizations. Ultimately, our findings serve as a beacon guiding us toward the promotion of employee well-being and
the cultivation of robust organizational health within the Malaysian workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventSingapore Conference on Applied Psychology 2023 - Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, Singapore
Duration: 7 Dec 20238 Dec 2023


ConferenceSingapore Conference on Applied Psychology 2023
Abbreviated titleSCAP 2023
Internet address

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