SOS - Appreciation overboard! Illegitimacy and psychologists' job satisfaction

Kottwitz, Maria U.; Pfister, Isabel B.; Elfering, Achim; Schummer, Steffen E.; Igic, Ivana; Otto, Kathleen (2019). SOS - Appreciation overboard! Illegitimacy and psychologists' job satisfaction. Industrial health, 57(5), pp. 637-652. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health 10.2486/indhealth.2018-0008

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In the globalized and rapidly evolving work environment, deficiencies in job design are a common reason that employees must sometimes complete tasks that are not directly connected to their occupational role. Individuals with a clear vision of their professional role and duties in particular, such as psychologists, might consider such tasks as an offense to self. According to the “Stress-as-Offense-to-Self” (SOS) concept, so-called “illegitimate tasks” do not respect a person’s professional identity – threatening the self through disrespect. We investigated perceived appreciation as an underlying mechanism mediating between illegitimate tasks and reduced job satisfaction after one year through three studies conducted in two European countries. Using data from 50 psychologists who graduated from a German university, Study 1 revealed that perceived appreciation explained the relationship between illegitimate tasks and job satisfaction after one year. Studies 2 and 3 confirmed this finding using data from 67 and 183 Swiss employees working in fields of psychology. In particular, illegitimate tasks affected the perception of appreciation immediately and in the long term, which in turn affected the psychologists’ job satisfaction (contagion model). Our results illustrate the importance of perceived appreciation as a mechanism that mediates between illegitimate tasks and job satisfaction of psychologists.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Kottwitz, Maria Undine, Pfister, Isabel Barbara, Elfering, Achim, Igic, Ivana (A)


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health




Ivana Igic

Date Deposited:

07 Aug 2019 14:49

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:36

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:



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