News Update on Emotional Labour Research: May – 2019

Development and validation of an emotional labour scale for nurses


This study aimed to develop an instrument to measure nurses’ emotional labour and to examine the scale’s validity and reliability.


Nurses experience emotional labour when they interact with patients. In previous research, nurses’ emotional labour was measured using tools developed for other occupations, which made it difficult to clarify the attributes specific to nursing.


Preliminary items were developed through a literature review, interviews and constructing a conceptual framework. The confirmed 25 items were applied in data collection. Data collected from 304 nurses working at metropolitan area hospitals were utilized to test the preliminary tool’s validity and reliability. For this purpose, item analysis, factor analysis, Pearson correlation coefficients and Cronbach’s alpha were used.


The final scale comprised 16 items, divided and three factors. The factors comprised “emotional control effort in profession,” “patient‐focused emotional suppression,” and “emotional pretense by norms.” The explanatory variance of the three factors was 52.1%. Cronbach’s α was 0.81, and the split‐half coefficient was 0.84.


Results indicate that the proposed scale was valid and reliable, and suitable for assessing nurses’ emotional labour. [1]

Storytelling: a way for winter adventure guides to manage emotional labour

The study draws upon the conceptualisation of storytelling in order to explore the emotional labour of adventure guides. Adventure guides lead organised excursions and often spend several days with groups of tourists, sometimes in challenging contexts, which increase the possibility of their experiencing a mismatch between felt and expressed emotions. This can create stress, which, in turn, can influence tourists’ creation of value. This study proposes that storytelling can create a connection between the emotions felt by a guide and those they have to express, providing a means to reduce stress. In order to investigate this thesis, 10 in-depth interviews were conducted with northern lights guides offering various winter adventure activities in Alta (a small city in the northernmost part of Norway). In addition, the researcher participated in four northern lights activities in order attain first-hand observations of storytelling by experienced guides. It was shown that guides employed different stories in order to facilitate emotional labour using both surface and deep acting. More importantly, stories anchored in personal interests and/or experiences enabled guides to access their own feelings and adjust their emotional expressions to match accordingly. [2]

Legitimizing leisure experiences as emotional work: A post‐humanist approach to gendered equine encounters

Due to changes in lifestyle and work patterns, education and values associated with wellbeing, non‐human animals are now incorporated into a range of human experiences and environments. This research specifically focuses on human–equine relations, examining blurred boundaries between therapeutic and recreational interspecies encounters. It is acknowledged that human–equine relations are often gendered and this research focuses mainly on women’s narratives. Viewed through the post‐humanist lens, horses now form kinship and companionship roles, particularly for women, where relations have become mutually emotionally dependent as a result of interspecies communication and embodied encounters. Research utilizes feminist post‐humanist and cultural politics of emotion frameworks associate with the co‐agency on the co‐agency of animals. Embedded in the concept of equiscapes, or post‐humanist leisure spaces, research methods employ qualitative approaches, including in‐depth interviews, participant diaries and multispecies ethnography. Findings reveal how women make considerable investments in equine activities, which develops mutual welfare and wellbeing. Yet, despite these benefits, emotional and other expenditures are justified in work discourses to legitimize them as valuable to themselves, their families and their communities. [3]

Geographies of emotional and care labour

Recent years have witnessed shifts in the social organisation of emotional and care labour, especially as they intersect with new global trends in migratory patterns and international mobility, the restructuring of social reproduction and public—private divides, as well as the flexibilization of labour markets and a resurgence of unpaid labour such as volunteer work. With a focus on emotions and affect as a central epistemological and methodological orientation, this essay aims to draw connections between three distinct but related bodies of feminist scholarship: social reproduction theory, studies of emotional labour, and emotional geographies. The paper frames these approaches relative to the project of understanding the spatial dimensions of forms of emotional and care labour in neoliberal times. [4]

Teaching and Balance: Emotional Labour, Stress, and Stress Management Techniques in the Eastern Galilee

Teaching is an emotional profession that requires delicate balances. This study aims to explore the ways in which teachers in the Eastern Galilee (Israel’s northern periphery) cope with stress. Our main purpose is to examine the links between teachers’ stress, its sources and consequences, and stress management techniques and their positive or negative effect on stress.

To reveal the associations between these variables, we posited four main hypotheses: 1) there is a positive correlation between stress and the intensity of negative emotions; 2) there is a negative correlation between the level of stress and the ability to cope with it; 3) there is a negative correlation between the intensity of negative emotions and the ability to cope with stress; and 4) there is a negative correlation between seniority and level of stress – that is, the more senior a teacher is, the less stress he or she will feel. To test the above hypotheses, we assessed emotional labour, negative emotion, and stress management techniques in a sample of 100 teachers, using validated self-reporting measures.

The main findings show the following:

1)  There is a positive correlation between teachers’ stress and the fact that they invest the majority of their time, whether at school or at home, in fulfilling their work responsibilities. Moreover, we found a very strong and significant positive correlation of p‹0.0l, r=0.724, showing that the more a teacher experiences stress, the stronger their negative emotions will be.

2) We found a weak negative correlation of p›0.05, r=0.142 between level of stress and management techniques.

3)  Over time, negative emotions can affect the manner in which teachers cope with pressure. This is an important point. Various studies have shown that as a teacher’s work becomes more demanding, forcing the teacher to invest their internal emotional resources in order to cope with complex situations, feelings of frustration and discomfort increase, resulting in a heightened sense of stress and impaired functioning.

4) Seniority is a very important factor in balancing levels of stress. We found that the more senior a teacher is, the less stress they will experience. Teachers with seniority of one to five years had the highest measure of stress (M=3.03, Std=0.77), whereas the measure of stress among teachers with six to11 years of seniority (M=2.99, Std=0.53) or those with more than 11 years’ seniority (M=2.79, Std=0.63) was lower. This important point fills gaps in research in the field which examines the relationship between seniority and coping techniques.

Surprisingly, there is a discrepancy between the general perception that teaching is a very busy profession with high levels of stress and reports of average-reasonable levels of stress reported by the majority of teachers participating in this study. This does not mean that the profession of teaching does not produce high levels of stress.

However, new thinking may be required to see teaching as a profession which relates to emotional work and, as such, requires more emotional and social support as part of a broader professional and organizational approach. [5]


[1] Hong, J. and Kim, O., 2019. Development and validation of an emotional labour scale for nurses. Journal of nursing management27(3), pp.509-516. (Web Link)

[2] Mathisen, L., 2019. Storytelling: A way for winter adventure guides to manage emotional labour. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism19(1), pp.66-81. (Web Link)

[3] Finkel, R. and Danby, P., 2019. Legitimizing leisure experiences as emotional work: A post‐humanist approach to gendered equine encounters. Gender, Work & Organization26(3), pp.377-391. (Web Link)

[4] Geographies of emotional and care labour

Jessica Parish & Jean Michel Montsion

Palgrave Communicationsvolume 4, Article number: 43 (2018) (Web Link)

[5] Nissim, Y. (2017) “Teaching and Balance: Emotional Labour, Stress, and Stress Management Techniques in the Eastern Galilee”, Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 21(2), pp. 1-14. doi: 10.9734/JESBS/2017/32411. (Web Link)

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