Faculty Advisor

Joseph A. Mikels


With the ongoing pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, the working world has been drastically altered. Additionally, pandemic related pressures are not evenly distributed across racial groups–with negative outcomes being exacerbated as a byproduct of structural inequities for people of color (Seldan & Berdahl, 2020). Using the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen et al., 1983), and Job Insecurity Scale (Ashford et al., 1989), we aimed to determine how various work-related factors such as job insecurity, essential worker status, and race relate to overall perceived stress in daily life. Participants (n = 266; Mage = 50.56 years, SD = 7.83; age range: 18-76 years; 49% white, 51% Black) completed a variety of measures through an online survey collected between mid-April and late May 2021. The results indicated that for white workers who identified as non-essential, and Black workers who identified as essential, increased job insecurity predicted an increase in perceived stress. The results of the study provide a launching point for identifying which demographic groups may need more support in the working world. Black essential workers and white non-essential workers likely would greatly benefit from support, resources, and interventions aiming to reduce workplace stress and improve wellbeing.