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This article reviews the role of individual differences in work stress processes, with particular reference to personality and coping as moderator variables. Vulnerability/resilience and person-environment fit (congruence) models of moderator effects are contrasted and relevant issues of methodology and analysis are outlined. Personality traits (locus of control, hardiness, Type A, optimism, and neuroticism) that act as moderators of stress/strain relations are reviewed; the characteristics and limitations of available measures are described. Associations between personality and coping, inventories for the assessment of coping, and the dimensions of coping behaviour, are then considered. The implications of structural and transactional models of stress for coping assessment are discussed with reference to dispositional versus situational approaches and other psychometric issues. The need for research into coping flexibility and consistency is emphasized. No attempt is made to provide a comprehensive account of empirical research into individual difference moderator effects, but relevant review articles are cited, together with some recent studies. Finally, several areas which would merit further attention (including specificity of moderator effects, conjunctive and disjunctive patterns, and moderation of relations between objective and perceived stressors) are identified. © 1994 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Original publication




Journal article


Work and Stress

Publication Date





110 - 129