The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between emotional labor, emotions, and job satisfaction among nurses, and explore the mediating role of emotions in the relationship between emotional labor and job satisfaction.Design/methodology/approachA cross-sectional study was designed with 168 nurses in Korea. Structural equation modeling and path analysis were performed to analyze data.FindingsSurface acting correlated positively with anxiety and frustration. Deep acting correlated positively with enjoyment and pride but correlated negatively with anxiety, anger and frustration. Enjoyment and pride correlated positively with job satisfaction; anger correlated negatively with job satisfaction. Deep acting correlated positively with job satisfaction, while surface acting did not show a significant relationship. Enjoyment, pride and anger mediated the relationship between deep acting and job satisfaction.Research limitations/implicationsThis research expands empirical findings on nurses’ emotional experiences, by considering their discrete emotions rather than general affect. It is the first study to empirically examine the relationships between emotional labor, discrete emotions and job satisfaction, as well as the mediating role of emotions in the relationship between emotional labor and job satisfaction in the nursing field. The mediating role of emotions suggests that not only nurses and nurse managers but also hospital administrators should take nurses’ emotions into account to increase nurses’ well-being and their job satisfaction. Finally, differential influences of surface acting and deep acting on nurses’ emotional experiences and job satisfaction highlight the need for practical interventions to promote the use of deep acting among nurses.Originality/valueThis study confirms the mediating role of emotions in the relationship between emotional labor and job satisfaction in the nursing field. It encourages future research to pay greater attention to nurses’ emotions themselves along with emotional labor. Findings add an interdisciplinary aspect to research on nursing by assimilating psychological perspectives of emotion and emotion management research to this field.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 16, 2020
Keywords: Job satisfaction; Mediation; Emotional labour; Surface acting; Deep acting; Nurses’ emotions