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Continuance commitment and turnover: Examining the moderating role of negative affectivity and risk aversion


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Christian Vandenberghe, HEC Montréal, 3000 Chemin de la Côte Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, Que., Canada H3T 2A7 (e-mail:


This paper examines the moderating role of negative affectivity and risk aversion in the relationships of two bases of continuance organizational commitment (continuance–sacrifices and continuance–alternatives) to turnover, within a stress–coping perspective. More specifically, we propose that (a) the perspective of leaving is a source of stress for those who stay due to the fear of losing valued advantages (i.e. high continuance–sacrifices commitment) and (b) staying is perceived to be stressful by individuals who remain based on a lack of employment alternatives (i.e. high continuance–alternatives commitment). We argue that these perceptions are magnified by negative affectivity and risk aversion, resulting in individuals who present these traits to use avoidance–withdrawal strategies in coping with these situations. Accordingly, based on a sample of 509 human resource management professionals, we found (a) negative affectivity and risk aversion to strengthen the negative relationship of continuance–sacrifices commitment to turnover and (b) continuance–alternatives commitment to relate positively to turnover among individuals with high negative affectivity. We discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of how commitment mindsets and personality traits affect turnover decisions.