Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Debra Steele-Johnson, Ph.D. (Advisor); Nathan Bowling, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Ernest Hoffman, Ph.D. (Committee Member); David LaHuis, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Employees are facing personal traumas, higher stress, and work pressures that are likely to result in both short- and long-term impacts. To mitigate these negative impacts, organizations should focus on applying research related to employees’ responses to trauma and stress. Learned helplessness, which is well-established within clinical psychology and less established within the industrial-organizational literature, occurs as a direct response to perceived control over trauma and could thus relate to the ability to overcome trauma. In relation to control-related constructs, industrial-organizational researchers have focused on resilience, hardiness, and work locus of control (LOC). However, each of these constructs account for content outside of the domain of control, making it difficult for researchers to assess effects on work outcomes specific to control. The current study examined the effects of learned helplessness over resilience, hardiness, and work LOC in organizational contexts. Learned helplessness correlated with most performance, affect, motivation, personality, and job characteristic constructs. Additionally, learned helplessness accounted for unique variance over resilience, hardiness, and work LOC in many motivation, personality, and job characteristic constructs. My results highlighted several issues and future directions relevant to motivational research, including the conceptual overlap of learned helplessness, resilience, hardiness, and work LOC; the level of focus of items and correspondence of predictor and outcome specificity; and predictors of learned helplessness in work settings.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded