No Worker is an Island: The Importance of Community Support in Mitigating the Effects of COVID-19
healthcare workers; COVID-19; pandemic; trait empathy theory; social identity theory
Academy of Management
In this study (n = 194), we sought to (a) extend previous work on healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic to explore how critical incidents might be linked to negative work outcomes through affective identification and (b) investigate the potential moderating effects of empathic concern and perceived community support on these relationships. Using data collected from doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and drawing from both trait empathy theory and social identity theory, we examine the relationship between intensity of involvement in the COVID-19 pandemic response, affective identification, and job outcomes such as psychological withdrawal and job engagement, as well as the moderating effects of empathic concern and perceived community support. Data was collected at two time points, with independent variables and moderators collected at T1 and the mediator and dependent variables collected at T2. We find that intensity of involvement is negatively associated with affective identification but only for those high in empathic concern. This reduced affective identification is then related to both increased psychological withdrawal and reduced job engagement. We also find support for the mitigating effect of community support indicating that while there is a cost to caring, support from others can reduce this negative effect.