Stacy Wilkes

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Barber, Larissa K.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Occupational psychology; Organizational behavior; Statistics; Employees--Job stress--Research; Psychology; Organizational behavior; Statistics


The literature indicates that an interrupted work environment may act as a stressor on employees. Yet, systematic measurement and empirical testing of employees' perceptions of workplace interruptions are lacking. Here, I describe a set of studies in which I developed and tested a self-report measure of workplace interruptions: the Workplace Hassles from Interruptions Measure (WHIM). The WHIM is based on a theoretically proposed typology of interruptions that included intrusions, distractions, discrepancy detections, and breaks. I analyzed the resultant scale to determine it is factorially identifiable (N = 317) and confirmed the four-factor structure via confirmatory factor analysis. Finally, I tested hypotheses based on the Job Demands-Resources theoretical framework. Three of the four types of interruptions, namely intrusions, distractions, and discrepancy detections, were found to be both associated with other stressors such as perceived heavy workload, organizational constraints, and role conflict on a diverse sample of employees (N = 160). These three types of interruptions were also found to be predictive of burnout, perceived stress, and work tension, but not for work engagement. However, interruptions tended not to add incremental validity above and beyond other stressor measures of strain outcomes. The frequency of breaks was also not related to any of these stressors or strain outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications of workplace interruptions are discussed.


Advisors: Larissa Barber.||Committee members: James Burton; Alecia Santuzzi.


97 pages




Northern Illinois University

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