My research focuses on Occupational Health Psychology - the application of theories and methods of psychology to the study of worker safety, health, and well-being. Most of my research investigates occupational health issues in three main occupational contexts: military personnel, retail workers, and health care professionals (e.g., nurses). My primary theoretical interests are in the personal and organizational factors that contribute to employee stress and resilience and in differences across workers and occupational contexts in the nature of employee-employer relationships. Finally, while my research covers a wide array of outcomes, I most commonly study employee retention and turnover, organizational commitment, and occupational health and well-being.
In the nursing context, I conduct research examining the relationship between work experiences and occupational health. Although a large work stress literature has examined negative events and perceptions at work, relatively few studies have explored how positive experiences affect occupational health. I have recently begun a stream of research investigating this question along with many others concerning work stress and health in nursing. Interestingly, we have found that positive experiences contribute to the prediction of some outcomes above and beyond negative experiences and may be more important than negative experiences for predicting some outcomes. Other facets of this research program focus on stressors that are particularly important in the health care context, such as insufficient staffing, interpersonal conflict, and performance constraints. For more information on this research, visit the Oregon Nurse Retention Program web site (www.onrp.webnode.com), which describes this research in detail.
In the military context, my research concerns personal and organizational factors that contribute to Soldiers' stress resilience as well as important outcomes of stress resilience, such as mental health and job attitudes. Most of this work has been in collaboration with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Regarding personal factors that contribute to stress resilience, I am particularly interested in personality-based stress resilience – the study of individual differences that affect and are affected by events at work. In terms of organizational factors, my interests concern how both high quality and destructive leadership and supportive organizational climates help military personnel (and other workers) cope with both every-day work stressors as well as potentially traumatic events (e.g., combat exposure). In the near future, I anticipate focusing this work on personality factors that contribute to stress-resilience, multi-level approaches to understanding stress, and organizational climate as a potential buffer of the relationship between traumatic stressors and PTSD.
I have conducted numerous studies of retail workers in collaboration with Professor James E. Martin of Wayne State University. Our research has examined many different aspects of the retail work experience, including union-related attitudes and behavior, employee commitment, and retention and turnover. Our current areas of interest include work status (e.g., differences between part-time and full-time employees), work schedules (e.g., night and weekend work), economic stressors, and safety climate.
Leka, S., & Sinclair, R. R. (Eds.) (2014). Contemporary Occupational Health Psychology: Global Perspectives on Research and Practice (Volume 3). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Sinclair, R. R., & Britt, T. W. (Eds.) (2013). Building Psychological Resilience in Military Personnel: Theory and Practice. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
Sinclair, R. R., Wang, M., & Tetrick, L. E. (Eds.) (2012). Research Methods in Occupational Health Psychology: Measurement, Design, and Data Analysis. New York, NY: Routledge.
Houdmont, J., Leka, S., & Sinclair, R. R. (Eds.) (2012). Contemporary Occupational Health Psychology: Global Perspectives on Research and Practice (Volume 2). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Cheung, J. H., Sinclair, R. R., Shi, J., Wang, M., (In Press). Do job demands of Chinese manufacturing employees predict positive or negative outcomes? A test of competing hypotheses. Stress and Health.
Sliter, M., Boyd, L., Sinclair, R. R., Cheung, J. H., & McFadden, A. (In Press). Inching toward inclusiveness: Diversity climate, interpersonal conflict and well-being in women nurses. Sex Roles.
Sliter, M., Sinclair, R. R., Zhuang, W., & Mohr, C. D. (2014). Don’t fear the reaper: Effects of trait death anxiety on burnout and engagement. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99, 759-769
Wright, R. R., Mohr, C. D., & Sinclair, R. R. (2014). Conflict on the treatment floor: A qualitative investigation of interpersonal conflict experienced by nurses. Journal of Research in Nursing, 19, 26-37.
Wittmer, J., Sinclair, R. R., Martin, J. E., Tucker, J., Lange, J. (2013). Shared aggression concerns and organizational outcomes: The moderating role of resource constraints. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34, 370-388.
Martin, J. E., Sinclair, R. R., Lelchook, A., Wittmer, J., & Charles, K. E. (2012). Nonstandard work schedules and retention in the entry-level hourly workforce. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 85, 1-22.
Sinclair, R. R., Martin, J. E., & Sears, L. E. (2010). Labor unions and safety climate: Perceived union safety values and retail employee safety outcomes. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 42, 1477-1487.
Tucker, J. S., Sinclair, R. R., Mohr, C. D., Adler, A. B., Thomas, J. L., Salvi, A. D. (2009). Stress and counterproductive behavior: Multiple relationships between demands, control, and Soldier indiscipline over time. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14, 257-271.
Cullen, J. C., Hammer, L. B., Neal, M. B., & Sinclair, R. R. (2009). Development of a typology of dual-earner couples caring for children and aging parents. Journal of Family Issues, 30, 458-483.
Tucker, J. S., Sinclair, R. R., Mohr, C. D., Adler, A. B., Thomas, J. L., Salvi, A. D. (2008). A temporal investigation of the direct, interactive, and reverse relations between demand and control and affective strain. Work & Stress, 22, 81-95.
Peer Reviewed Conference Proceedings
Martin, J. E., Sinclair, R. R., Lelchook, A., Wittmer, J., & Charles, K. E. (2010). Working different shifts and employee retention. Best papers proceedings of the annual conference of the Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management (pp. 206-213). San Diego, CA.
Book Chapters/Encyclopedia Entries
Sinclair, R. R. & Cheung, J. H. (Forthcoming). Occupational health. In S. K. Whitbourne (Ed.). The Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging. Wiley-Blackwell.
Sinclair, R. R., Stanyar, K. R., McFadden, A. C., Brawley, A. M., & Huang, E., (2014). The role of communication in occupational safety and health management. In V. D. Miller & M. E. Gordon (Eds.) Meeting the Challenges of Human Resource Management: A Communication Perspective (pp. 179-191). New York, NY: Routledge.
Sinclair, R. R., & Britt, T. W. (2013). Military resilience: Remaining questions and concluding comments. In R. R. Sinclair & T. W. Britt (Eds.). Building Psychological Resilience in Military Personnel: Theory and Practice (pp. 237-251). Washington, DC: APA Books.
Britt, T. W., Sinclair, R. R., & McFadden, A. C. (2013). Introduction: The meaning and importance of military resilience. In R. R. Sinclair & T. W. Britt (Eds.). Building Psychological Resilience in Military Personnel: Theory and Practice (pp. 3-17). Washington, DC: APA Books.
Sinclair, R. R., Waitsman, M., Oliver, C. M., & Deese, N. (2013). Personality and psychological resilience in military personnel. In R. R. Sinclair & T. W. Britt (Eds.). Building Psychological Resilience in Military Personnel: Theory and Practice (pp. 21-46). Washington, DC: APA Books.
Sinclair, R. R., Probst, T. M., Hammer, L. B., & Schaffer, M. M. (2013). Low income families and occupational health: Implications for work-family conflict research and practice. In A. Antoniou & C. Cooper, (Eds.). The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace (pp. 308-324). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
Jiang, L., Probst, T. M., & Sinclair, R. R. (2013). Perceiving and responding to job insecurity: The importance of multilevel contexts. In A. Antoniou & C. Cooper, (Eds.). The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace (pp. 176-195). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
Sinclair, R. R., Wang, M., & Tetrick, L. E. (2012). Looking toward the future of occupational health psychology research. In R. R. Sinclair, M. Wang, & L. E. Tetrick (Eds.). Research Methods in Occupational Health Psychology: Measurement, Design, and Data Analysis (pp. 395-414). New York: Psychology Press/Routledge.
Wang, M., Sinclair, R. R., Zhou, L., & Sears, L. E. (2012). Person-centered analysis: Methods, applications, and implications for Occupational Health Psychology. In R. R. Sinclair, M. Wang, & L. E. Tetrick (Eds.). Research Methods in Occupational Health Psychology: Measurement, Design, and Data Analysis (pp. 349-373). New York: Psychology Press/Routledge.
Landsbergis, P., Sinclair, R. R., Dobson, M., Hammer, L. B., Jauregui, M., Olson, R., Schnall, P. L., Stellman, J., & Warren, N. (2011). Occupational health psychology. In Anna, D. (Ed.). The Occupational environment: Its evaluation control and management (3rd Ed.). American Industrial Hygiene Association White Book (pp. 1086-1127). American Industrial Hygiene Association.
Sinclair, R. R., & Charles, K. E. (2011). Non-standard work schedules and retention management. In A. Antoniou & C. Cooper, (Eds.) New Directions in Organizational Psychology and Behavioral Medicine: Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Risk (pp. 259-285). Burlington, VT: Gower.
Wang, M., Sinclair, R. R., & Deese, M. N. (2010). Understanding the causes of destructive leadership: A dual process model. In T. Hansbrough & B. Schyns (Eds.). When leadership goes wrong: Destructive leadership, mistakes and ethical failures (pp. 73-97). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Sinclair, R. R., Sears, L. E., Probst, T., & Zajack, M. (2010). A multilevel model of economic stress and employee well-being. In J. Houdmont & S. Leka (Eds.) Contemporary Occupational Health Psychology: Global Perspectives on Research and Practice (pp. 1-20). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
LinksSociety for Occupational Health Psychology
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
American Psychological Association
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Bob Sinclair - Google Scholar Report