Increasing the probability of finding an interaction in work stress research: A two-wave longitudinal test of the triple-match principle


Correspondence should be addressed to Sergio Chrisopoulos, Work and Stress Research Group, School of Psychology, University of South Australia, City East Campus, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia (e-mail:


Research into work stress has attempted to identify job resources that can moderate the effects of job demands on strain. The recently developed triple-match principle (TMP) proposes that job demands, resources, and strain can be conceptualized as being composed of cognitive, emotional, and physical dimensions. When a psychological imbalance is induced by job demands, individuals activate corresponding resources to reduce the effects of the demands. A closer match occurs when the resources are processed in the same psychological domain as the demands. The further away from a match, the less likely an interactive effect will become. Put simply, the likelihood of finding an interactive effect between job demands and job resources is greatest when demands, resources, and strain are based on qualitatively similar dimensions (i.e. cognitive, emotional, and physical). For example, emotional support from colleagues is likely to buffer the effects of emotional demands on emotional exhaustion. The TMP was tested in a sample of 179 Australian police officers in a two-wave longitudinal study. The likelihood of finding an interactive effect was related to the degree of match between job demands, job resources, and strain with 33.3% of triple-match interactions significant, 22.2% when there was a double-match, and 0.0% when there was no match. These findings lend support to the TMP as a guiding framework, for research, to explore possible interactive effects in work stress research, and for practice, to inform interventions matching resources to occupational demands, to offset strain.