Challenge and hindrance appraisals of job demands: one man’s meat, another man’s poison?

Peikai Li (Corresponding author), Toon W. Taris, Maria C.W. Peeters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (SciVal)


Background and objectives: Many job stress models assume that all workers experience a particular job demand in the same way–an assumption that may or may not be warranted and that has rarely been tested. Building on appraisal theory, we explore (a) how individuals appraise particular job demands (i.e., as a challenge or as a hindrance) and (b) how these appraisals affect the relationship between job demands and engagement/burnout. Design and Methods: A multi-occupation cross-sectional study was conducted among 527 Chinese workers (321 females, 60.9%; Mage = 32.74, SD = 6.70). The data were analyzed using hierarchical multiple regression analysis. Results: We found that the appraisal of job demands (time urgency, role conflict, and emotional demands) as a challenge moderated the associations between these demands and burnout/engagement. Generally, the results indicate that the presence of high job demands was associated with negative outcomes. However, these detrimental effects were weaker if workers appraised these characteristics as being high-challenge. Conclusions: This study extends research on job demands within the challenge–hindrance framework by focusing on the moderating effects of appraisals. Given the important role of appraisal, we conclude that researchers should include appraisal more systematically in their theorizing and research on the effects of job demands on well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • burnout
  • challenge appraisals
  • engagement
  • hindrance appraisals
  • Job demands


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