Research Spotlight: Rebecca Erickson awarded NSF Grant
PI: Rebecca J. Erickson, Professor of Sociology, The University of Akron
Co-PI: James M. Diefendorff, Associate Professor of Psychology, The University of Akron
“Identity and Emotional Management Control in Health Care Settings”
Abstract: Today’s health care settings ask nurses to balance the dual goals of providing quality care and maintaining economic efficiency. Previous research on identity and emotion has provided insight into the stresses and strains that can result from attempts to manage these complex role demands and to engage in the emotion management that is integral to the well-being of both patients and the nurses who care for them. The current project integrates identity and emotion management control theories to examine how the occupational context combines with self processes to affect individual and organizational outcomes. The researchers investigate these relationships using a mixed methods design with a sample of full-time registered nurses working in seven acute care hospitals in the Midwestern United States. Data are collected through written questionnaires, organizational records, audio recordings, and face-to-face interviews. By cross-validating the findings from both quantitative and qualitative methods, the researchers will be able to specify, empirically and theoretically, how social contexts, interactional events, and the emotions which emerge from them, are experienced and managed in ways that impact key dimensions of individual health and the unit-based effectiveness of nursing care provided within hospital settings.
Broader Impacts: Nurses play a critical role in ensuring quality patient care. Yet, as an occupational group, they tend to have among the highest levels of burnout and turnover. As demands for nursing care continue to increase, understanding determinants of nurse well-being, and how this relates to patient well-being, has become a growing concern for health care organizations. By testing theoretically-specified relationships with data collected through a variety of methodologies, the proposed research will contribute to policy initiatives surrounding evidence-based practice and the nursing-related goals issued by the Institute of Medicine. The investigators’ larger research agenda has the potential to translate theoretically-informed results into organizational policies and practices that promote the well-being of both patients and the nurses who care for them.