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I Cannot Afford to Have a Life: Employee Adaptation to Feelings of Job Insecurity


  • A previous version of this paper was presented at the 28th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Houston, Texas. The authors wish to express their appreciation to Jill Bradley-Geist and Amit Kramer for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript, Bunmi Ajagunna for her insights and valuable assistance with survey development, and Ning Li and Richard Gardner for assistance with data analysis. We also thank faculty participants of the Craig School of Business Department of Management colloquium for their very helpful suggestions.


This study examines the links between employee perceptions of job insecurity, the work–nonwork interface, and stress-related outcomes. Drawing on an adaptation perspective, we expect employees feeling greater job insecurity to engage in adaptive work behaviors including less use of work–nonwork support programs and greater willingness to let work permeate into one's personal life, which in turn will associate with greater work–nonwork conflict and emotional exhaustion. Data were collected from employees within a large energy company at 2 points in time. Results support the model, offering important insights into employee behavioral responses to job insecurity and key mechanisms through which insecurity may foster diminished employee well-being.