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Does Positive Affect Buffer the Associations between Job Insecurity and Work Engagement and Psychological Distress? A Test among South African Workers


Tinne Vander Elst, Research Group on Work, Organisational and Personnel Psychology (WOPP), University of Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3725, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Email:


This study aims to respond to earlier calls to study well-known concepts, more specifically, job insecurity, in less traditional (i.e. non-European, non-US) settings, as well as factors that may mitigate the aversive consequences of job insecurity for employees' work-related functioning. We investigate (1) the relationship between job insecurity and work engagement and psychological distress, and (2) the moderating role of positive affect in these relationships. Cross-sectional data from 296 employees in a South African government organisation were used to test the hypotheses. The results showed that job insecurity was negatively related to work engagement and positively to psychological distress. These relationships were buffered by positive affect.