The cognitive/affective distinction of job insecurity: Validation and differential relations

  • J Pienaar
  • H De Witte
  • J Hellgren
  • M Sverke
Keywords: Job insecurity, job satisfaction, validation, equivalence analysis, factorial invariance


Job insecurity as a work-related stressor is well established through three decades of research. It has been related to outcomes such as decreased job satisfaction, organisational commitment and performance as well as increased ill-health and organisational turnover. However, some important conceptual and theoretical issues are still under discussion, with implications for the measurement of the construct. We administered a short version of the measure of job insecurity originally devised by De Witte (2000), which distinguishes between cognitive and affective job insecurity. Data on job satisfaction, commitment, psychological ill-health and emotional exhaustion were also gathered from employees in a variety of South African organisations (N=1925) by means of anonymous surveys. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the cognitive and affective dimensions of job insecurity could be distinguished in this sample of South African employees, and the two dimensions evidenced adequate reliability. Equivalence analyses showed that the measurement properties of the scale were invariant across various demographic groups. The relationships with outcome variables were investigated by means of correlations and regression analyses. Cognitive job insecurity was predictive of all outcome variables, whereas affective job insecurity primarily played a role for emotional exhaustion. Norm data concerning levels of cognitive and affective job insecurity are presented to guide future South African studies.

Key words: Job insecurity, job satisfaction, validation, equivalence analysis, factorial invariance


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1998-8125
print ISSN: 1561-896X