Till stress do us part: On the interplay between perceived stress and communication network dynamics

Yuval Kalish*, Gil Luria, Sharon Toker, Mina Westman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study of perceived stress and communication networks fills 2 theoretical gaps in the literature: First, drawing predominantly on conservation of resource theory and faultline theory, we demonstrate the role of stress as an "engine of action" in network evolution. Second, we extend the stress literature to the interpersonal domain by arguing that others' levels of stress influence the individual's communication network, and this, in turn, changes his or her stress level. At 3 time points, we evaluated the communication ties and perceived stress in a unique field setting comprising 115 male participants (in 6 groups) performing group-based tasks. We introduce stochastic actor-based models for the coevolution of network ties and actor attributes, statistical models that enable causal inferences to be drawn regarding the interplay between dynamic networks and individual attributes. Using these models, we find that over time, individuals experiencing higher levels of perceived stress were less likely to create new communication ties and were more likely to maintain existing ties to others. Participants also tended to communicate with similarly stressed others. Such communication network dynamics further increased individuals' levels of perceived stress over time, leading to stress-related vicious cycles. We discuss organizational implications that relate to stress and network-related interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1737-1751
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume100
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Communication networks
  • Conservation of resource theory
  • Perceived stress
  • Social network analysis
  • Stochastic actor-based models

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