Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Marita Apter-Desselles


Affective reactions and employee emotions have been studied since the days of the Hawthorne studies (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939). According to Affective Events Theory (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), people react affectively to events in the workplace, and these reactions have consequences for the individual, the team, and the organization. For instance, negative events may lead to negative affect, which may mean decreased job attitudes for the individual (Judge & Larsen, 2001). These reactions may also be moderated by dispositional characteristics such as personality (Weiss & Kurek, 2003) and self-esteem (Ilies, De Pater, & Judge, 2007). The following dissertation focused on how one moderating dispositional characteristic, self-compassion, influenced the affective reactions to negative events in the workplace by people with visual impairments or blindness.

Self-compassion is made up of three sub-facets: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness (Neff, 2003a). Self-compassion is often referred to as compassion turned inward (Neff, 2003a). It has been widely studied in the counseling and clinical realm (e.g., Neff, 2012), with virtually no research in the industrial-organizational psychology literature.

The results indicate that self-compassion did not act as a moderator in this case, nor did any of its subcomponents predict negative affect, except for mindfulness. The subcomponents of self-compassion also did not predict organizational outcomes such as affective commitment and turnover intentions.

However, the results do indicate that affective commitment partially mediates the relationship between affective reactions and turnover intentions for people with significant visual impairment. This is important because people with disabilities, and more specifically people with significant visual impairments, are already exposed to many challenges in the workplace, such as discrimination and lack of basic resources (Wolffe & Candela, 2002). Being widely understudied in both the industrialorganizational psychology literature and the self-compassion literature, there is a gap in the research when it comes to their unique experiences. This dissertation adds to the literature by providing insight into how people with visual impairments or blindness cope with some of these challenges in the workplace, specifically negative events.