It's self defense: how perceived discrimination promotes employee withdrawal.


Integrating theory on stress, stigma, and coping, the present study sheds light on how employees react to perceived discrimination (PD) in the workplace. Using three national samples, we found that PD based on race, sex, age, family obligation, and sexual orientation related to physical withdrawal (i.e., lateness, absenteeism,and intent to quit) indirectly through psychological withdrawal (i.e., burnout and engagement) such that PD corresponded in less engagement and more burnout, which related to increased lateness, absenteeism, and intent to quit [corrected].Further, these indirect relationships were moderated by employees' coping mechanisms with those who were more apt to change the situation or to avoid the stressor exhibiting weaker relationships between PD and psychological withdrawal. Though each of these studies is cross-sectional in nature and therefore cannot provide strong evidence of causal ordering of the variables in our model, the replication and extension of results over three databases and multiple forms of discrimination, coping, psychological, and physical withdrawal demonstrates that understanding the relationships explored in these studies can aid researchers and practitioners in enhancing employee quality of life and productivity.

DOI: 10.1037/a0034016

Cite this paper

@article{Volpone2013ItsSD, title={It's self defense: how perceived discrimination promotes employee withdrawal.}, author={Sabrina D Volpone and Derek R. Avery}, journal={Journal of occupational health psychology}, year={2013}, volume={18 4}, pages={430-48} }