Nowack, K. M., Hanson, A., & Gibbons, J. (1985). Factors affecting burnout & job performance in resident assistants. Journal of College Student Personnel, 26, 137-142

Social support and health related coping habits are examined in relationship to job burnout, psychological distress, and a measure of job performance among 43 student resident advisors. Multiple regression analyses revealed that social support and health habits significantly contributed towards predictions of job burnout outcomes. Resident assistants practicing regular and healthy lifestyle habits reported significantly less emotional exhaustion and psychological distress than those with poor habits.

Significant associations were found between the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization dimensions of burnout and job performance. Thus, resident assistants reporting greater emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and negative feelings towards others tended to receive significantly lower evaluations of job performance (p < .05). The size of the social support network, rather than, the resident assistant's satisfaction with his/her network, was significantly associated with job performance. Implications of this research for selection, training and development are discussed.

Nowack, K. M. (1985). Type A behavior, family health history, & psychological distress. Psychological Reports, 57, 799-806

This study examined the relationship between Type A behavior (Framingham Scale) and family health history to psychological distress in the face of daily life stress. Measures of Type A behavior, family health history and psychological distress were collected for 196 employees in a prospective design. The Family Health Survey was used to assess family health history. This 40-item survey checklist contains items pertaining to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders of an individual's parents and grandparents. Sample items include high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, heart attack, and stroke.

Analyses of covariance (controlling for initial levels of psychological distress measured at baseline) showed that high Type A individuals experienced significantly more psychological distress than those with low Type A scores. Family health history and stress (Hassles Inventory) did not have significant main effects with respect to the psychological health outcome measured in this study.

Nowack, K. M. & Hanson, A. (1985). Academic achievement of freshmen as a function of residence hall housing. Naspa Journal, 22, 22-29

The impact of on-campus housing on academic achievement has been a particularly difficult relationship to clearly elucidate. This study explored differences in academic achievement (mean GPA and academic probation) between freshmen residence hall students and non-residence hall students.

Academic achievement and difficulty were compared for 1,302 resident hall freshmen and a randomly sampled, non-residence hall criterion group of 740 students. Mean grade point average (GPA) was used a measure of academic achievement earned at the end of the year. Academic difficulty was defined and measured in this study as the mean number of students placed on academic probation at any point during the year. Significant differences in mean GPA (M = 2.64) and non-residence hall students (M =2.51) was observed (t = 3.38, p < .01). Thus, not controlling for individual difference variables (SAT scores and high school GPA), residence hall students achieved higher GPA's than non-residence hall students.

Regression analyses were used to compare the significant contributions of residence hall living to the prediction of both GPA and academic difficulty. Individual difference variables were entered as a block on the first step of the regression analyses. Residence hall living significantly contributes towards the prediction of both mean GPA and academic difficulty (all p's < .05). Separate analyses were conducted by gender. Within the residence halls, no significant differences were found at the end of the year GPA's and prevalence of probation (academic difficulty) between males and females. However, outside the residence halls, females had significantly higher GPA's and experienced less academic probation than their male counterparts (p < .05). Implications for further research and programmatic interventions in the residence hall settings are discussed.

Nowack, K. M. & Hanson, A. (1983). An investigation of the relationship between stress, job performance, & burnout in college student resident assistants. Journal of College Student Personnel, 24, 545-550

This 10-month retrospective study of student resident assistants (n=37) examined the relationship between stress, personality hardiness, and coping style to job performance and burnout. Self-reported stress was measured using the Social Readjustment rating Scale, illness was measured by the Seriousness of Illness Scale, Type A behavior was measured by the Bortner Type A scale, burnout by the Maslach Burnout Inventory, personality hardiness was based assessed based on a composite score from three measures (Locus of Control Scale, Alienation from Work Scale, Sensation Seeking Scale) and job performance was obtained by a 16-item inventory completed by floor members (an average of 25 floor members rated each resident assistant on such job related variable as interpersonal sensitivity, availability, programming, advising, interpersonal interactions, and enforcement of rules and policies).

To test the hypothesis that cognitively hardy individuals experienced less stress and job burnout, two step-wise multiple regression analyses were conducted. Cognitive hardiness was found to be significantly contributed towards predictions of both severity and frequency of self-reported illness accounting for approximately 35% of the variance. Hardiness also significantly contributed towards the three job burnout scales, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment (all p's < .05).

To test the hypothesis that achievement oriented Type A employees would receive the highest job performance ratings, stepwise multiple regression analyses were repeated with job performance as the dependent variable. Stress, illness, job burnout, and Type A behavior each contributed significantly towards job performance and cumulatively accounted for over 46% of the variance in this dependent variable (all p's < .05). However, a negative association was observed between Type A behavior and job performance. Thus, hard driving and impatient Type A student workers were rated significantly lower than his/her less Type A counterpart. This finding suggests that when performance is largely based on communications, interpersonal interactions, approachability, and human relations skills, rather than, task output or productivity, Type A behavior may be detrimental to job performance. Implications for further research in human service job families are discussed. Recommendations for minimizing student resident assistant stress and job burnout are presented.

Nowack, K. M. & Sassenrath, J. (1980). Coronary prone behavior, anxiety & locus of control. Psychological Reports, 47, 359-364

A total of 216 college students were administered the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale, Bortner Type A Scale for coronary prone behavior, and the Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control Inventory. The results indicated that the mean anxiety score for the Type A-External group was significantly higher than those of the other groups (p < .05).

The findings support the biobehavioral theory that coronary risk prone individuals are more likely to possess a Type A, high external control, and high anxiety profile. A factor analysis of the Bortner Type A Scale produced three interpretable factors, aggression, speed, and impatience, all of which have some clinical validity in earlier Type A studies.

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