Investigating the serial psychological processes of workplace COVID-19 infection risk and employees’ performance

Ya Ting Chuang, Hua Ling Chiang, An Pan Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Drawing on concepts from conservation of resources theory, this study examines the effects of perceived workplace COVID-19 infection risk on employees’ in-role (i.e., task), extra-role (i.e., OCBs: organizational citizenship behaviors), and creative performance via three mediators, namely, uncertainty, self-control, and psychological capital (i.e., PsyCap), and the moderation of leaders’ safety commitment. Three sets of surveys were collected from 445 employees and 115 supervisors working in various industries during the 2021 COVID-19 (Alpha and Delta variants) outbreak in Taiwan, when vaccinations were not yet readily available. The Bayesian multilevel results reveal that COVID-19 infection risk (Time 1) is negatively associated with creativity (Time 3) as well as supervisor-rated task performance and OCBs (Time 3) via PsyCap. Additionally, the relationship between COVID-19 infection risk and creativity is mediated by the serial psychological processes of uncertainty (Time 2), self-control (Time 2), and PsyCap (Time 3). Furthermore, supervisors’ safety commitment marginally moderates the relationships between uncertainty and self-control and between self-control and PsyCap. Conditional indirect results show that the effect of uncertainty on PsyCap via self-control is significant for supervisors with high-level safety commitment, and the effect of self-control on creative performance via PsyCap is significant for supervisors with both high- and low-level safety commitment. In summary, workplace COVID-19 infection risk stimulates a tandem psychological process and impairs employees’ work-related performance; PsyCap plays a dominant role in this context. Leaders may prevent similar negative impacts by committing to ensuring workplace security to compensate for employees’ resource loss when facing future crises or threats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16780-16795
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2024 May


  • COVID-19 infection risk
  • Performance
  • Psychological capital
  • Self-control
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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