Occupational Health Science

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 365–383 | Cite as

The Association Between Emotional Labor and Burnout: the Moderating Role of Psychological Capital

  • Shahnaz AzizEmail author
  • Alexandra Widis
  • Karl Wuensch
Original Research Article


Relationships among surface and deep acting, psychological capital (PsyCap), and the three burnout components (i.e., emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, personal accomplishment) were examined. Data were collected from a sample of 416 working professionals. While surface acting positively correlated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, it negatively correlated with personal accomplishment. Deep acting positively correlated with depersonalization and personal accomplishment, but was not significantly related to emotional exhaustion. PsyCap negatively correlated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, but positively correlated with personal accomplishment. Surface acting negatively correlated with PsyCap, while deep acting positively correlated with it. Lastly, PsyCap moderated the relationship between surface acting and emotional exhaustion, as well as between deep acting and both depersonalization and personal accomplishment. Identifying the benefits and costs of emotional labor, specifically surface and deep acting, can lead to organizational practices that benefit employers and employees alike. Organizations should invest in resources that increase employees’ PsyCap to help workers combat the negative outcomes associated with emotional labor, specifically the components of burnout.


Emotional labor Surface acting Deep acting Psychological capital Burnout 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors I, the corresponding author, state that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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