In this study the sole and the combined effects of active and non-active forms of coping on psychological distress across various kinds of job stressors were examined. Data on job stressors, coping and psychological distress were obtained from 4487 male employees of a research institute in the automobile industry in Japan (mean age = 36.27 years, SD = 7.43). A hierarchical moderated multiple regression analysis was conducted to estimate and test the significance of the main effects and their interactions. The results show that although active coping was effective in decreasing psychological distress regardless of the type of job stressor, the effectiveness was weaker in situations that require effortful coping, such as role ambiguity and insufficient authority. Furthermore, the effectiveness of active coping was influenced by the other strategies, especially in effortful coping situations. While distancing or seeking social support improved the effectiveness, restraint coping reduced it. These results suggest that the type of non-active coping that individuals combine with active coping can be critical in determining health outcomes in more complex and effortful coping situations. Consideration of the coping combinations, not merely the situational context, is important in explaining how the work environment influences employees' psychological distress.
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