Stress arousal and burnout as mediators of role stress in public accounting

Kenneth J. Smith, David J. Emerson, George S. Everly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper examines the influence of stress arousal and burnout as mediators of the negative relations between role stressors and job outcomes (satisfaction, performance, and turnover intentions) among a sample of AICPA members working in public accounting. It extends prior research which examined these linkages (Chong & Monroe, 2015; Fogarty, Singh, Rhoads, & Moore, 2000; Smith, Davy, & Everly, 2007) by evaluating a model that simultaneously incorporates stress arousal and the three fundamental dimensions of burnout, i.e., emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. This paper also utilizes a recently validated stress arousal measure designed to capture the worry and rumination aspects of arousal posited to be responsible for a number of negative personal outcomes. The results indicate that role stressors, mediated by stress arousal and the individual burnout dimensions, have a negative influence on job outcomes. In line with predictions regarding the temporal ordering of stress arousal and burnout in the model, each of the job stressors had a significant positive influence on accountants' stress arousal, and the influence of the individual role stressors on each burnout dimension was either partially or fully mediated via their relations with stress arousal. In turn, the influence of stress arousal on each of the job outcomes was either partially or fully mediated through its relations with emotional exhaustion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-116
Number of pages38
JournalAdvances in Accounting Behavioral Research
StatePublished - 2017


  • Burnout
  • Job outcomes
  • Role stressors
  • Stress arousal
  • Stress mediators
  • Turnover intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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