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Expecting the Worst: Moderating Effects of Social Cynicism on the Relationships Between Relationship Conflict and Negative Affective Reactions

Abstract

Purpose

Social cynicism, defined as negative beliefs about people and social institutions, shows negative impact on people’s affective reactions. We extended this line of work by testing the moderating effects of social cynicism on the relationships between relationship conflict and its affective consequences.

Design/Methodology/Approach

The data were collected using a computer-assisted random telephone survey method (N = 572).

Findings

As expected, social cynicism and relationship conflict were related negatively to job satisfaction and life satisfaction, but positively to intention to quit. More importantly, the negative relationships between relationship conflict and job satisfaction and life satisfaction, and the positive relationship between relationship conflict and intention to quit were not significant when social cynicism was high.

Implications

Our findings suggest that social cynicism is like a two-edged sword. Social cynicism is not only correlated with a range of negative attitudes and reactions, but also able to cushion people from the negative effects of relationship conflict on affective reactions.

Originality/Value

This study is among the first to examine the moderating role of social cynicism. Interestingly, social cynicism played a mitigating role on the relationships between relationship conflict and negative affective reactions.

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Acknowledgment

This research was supported by a Grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, No. 70802055) and by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

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Correspondence to Fuli Li or Fan Zhou.

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Received and reviewed by former editor, George Neuman.

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Li, F., Zhou, F. & Leung, K. Expecting the Worst: Moderating Effects of Social Cynicism on the Relationships Between Relationship Conflict and Negative Affective Reactions. J Bus Psychol 26, 339–345 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-010-9192-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-010-9192-3

Keywords

  • Social cynicism
  • Relationship conflict
  • Affective reactions
  • Job satisfaction
  • Life satisfaction
  • Intention to quit