doi:lO.l006Jjevp.2001.0229, available online at http://www.idealibrary.com on I D E~t~
~ ENVIRONMENTAL ~P~YCHOLOGY
0272-49'J4/01/040353 + 16$35.00/0
MODERATING THE STRESS IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS: THE EFFECT OF ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT IN HONG KONG AND CHINA
IAN DONALD1, OI-LINO Sm2 lTheUniuersity oi Liuerpool
2 Lingnan Uniuersity, Hong Kong
The purpose of the study is to investigate the relationship between environmental eonditions and employee health in Chinese white and blue-eollar samples, and to examine the role of organizational commitment as a stress moderator. Data are colleeted using a self-administered questionnaire_ The participants are 158 white and 138blue-collar workers in Hong Kong and 372 blue-collar workers in China. The results show that environmental conditions (including ventilation, workable space, illumination, temperature, noise, air pollution, and freedom to move around at work) are positively related to job satisfaction, and physical and mental well-being. These relationships are particularly true in the Hong Kong white-eollar and Chinablue-collar groups. Further, organizational commitment moderated some of the relationships between environmental conditions and health_ Ineonclusive results of the buffering role of organizational commitment are obtained.
© 2001 Academic Press
It has been observed that within Environrnental Psychology there has been 1ittle empirical research examining multiple stressors(Evans et al., 1996)_ While sorne research has been directed towards overcoming this problem, it remains the case that few studies are conducted that look at other contextual factors. For instance, while Evans et al. (1996) consider multiple stressors in an attempt to increase the ecological validi ty of environmental stress research, conditions that may mitigate, or buffer, the effects of stressare not researched. One reason for this may be that it is difficult to examine such variables within a laboratory context. On the other hand, there are difficulties in carrying out well-controlled experimental studies, incorporating objective physiological and environmental measures, within naturally occurring contexts. Nonetheless, it is important that contextual variables are considered.Increasingly, work stress and the health of workers has become a source of concern to employers and government agencies_ There has been a proliferate amount of research demonstrating links
between stress and various negative outcomes, which directly 01' indirectly affect employee health and well-being (e.g. Cooper & Marshall, 1976; Beehr & Newman, 1978; Cooper et al., 1988; Cooper & Cartwright,1996). Studies conducted in the workplace demonstrate that the sources of stress are many and varied. They can, however, be broadly divided into the physical and psychosocial sources. The present papel' examines the role of physical stressors in the form of perceived environmental conditions, on employee health. The papel' also considers the role of organizational commitment in buffering therelationship between perceived physical conditions and well-being.
Physical environment and occupational stress
There are potentially a great number of attributes witflin the environment that can impact upon workers (Evans et al., 1996; Evans & Cohen, 1987). Several authors have classified them into broad groupings. For example, Evans et al. (1994) referred to physical charactcristics as theinanimate components of the work setting. The components they included were
Environmental Conditions and Employee Health
consider that a moderator hypothesis is supported if the product or interaction between the two predictor variables is statistically significant, but go on to note that there may also be significant main effects.
In the case of mediators, Barron and Kenny (1986)...