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Physiological mechanisms that underlie the effects of interactional unfairness on deviant behavior: the role of cortisol activity

journal contribution
posted on 2014-03-01, 00:00 authored by L-Q Yang, J Bauer, Russell Johnson, M W Groer, K Salomon
Although experiencing unfairness is a primary source of stress, there are surprisingly few studies that have examined the physiological underpinnings of unfairness. Drawing from social self-preservation theory, we derive predictions regarding the effects of interactional unfairness on activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which is one of the body’s primary hormonal systems for responding to stress. Using an experimental design with objective physiological measures, we found support for our hypothesis that interactional unfairness triggers the release of cortisol by the HPA axis. This cortisol activity in turn mediated the effects of interactional unfairness on deviant behavior. This indirect effect remained significant after controlling for established attitudinal and self-construal mediators of the justice–deviance relationship. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings for the occupational stress and organizational justice literatures.

History

Journal

Journal of applied psychology

Volume

99

Issue

2

Pagination

310 - 321

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Location

Washington, D.C.

ISSN

0021-9010

eISSN

1939-1854

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2013, American Psychological Association

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