Committee Chair

Black, Kristen Jennings, 1991-

Committee Member

O'Leary, Brian J.; Cunningham, Christopher J. L.


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The present study explored attributes of work interruptions (duration, domain, and urgency) and their impact on appraisals of threat and changes in perceived energy. Participants (N = 290 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers) read and responded to a series of interruption vignettes, appraising each scenario as a threat to personal resources, and evaluating an anticipated impact on their personal energy. Results from a repeated measures ANOVA indicated main effects of each interruption attribute and interactions on appraisals of threat and changes to personal energy. Interruptions characterized by high urgency or long duration were more likely to deplete personal energy, whereas low urgency, short duration, or social interruptions resulted in no changes in personal energy. These findings indicate that some interruption events in the workplace are more threatening than others, however not all interruptions are negative. Study findings indicate that some interruption events are neutral experiences, and some may be potentially energizing.


First and foremost, my acknowledgements go to my thesis chair, Dr. Kristen Jennings Black. Thank you for your mentorship and endless positivity through the trials of conducting a master’s thesis during a pandemic. I will always be grateful for your drive, passion for empiricism, and attention to detail. I would also like to thank my committee members Drs. Brian O’Leary and Chris Cunningham for their expertise and knowledge, as well as pushing for excellence in this project. Special thanks are owed to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for awarding SEARCH funding, without which this research would not be possible. To all of my academic mentors, amazing bosses, and relentless coworkers, I appreciate your continual intrigue and belief in me as I persevered through this project. Thank you to my friends and family, who provided a strong support system. Aferdit Sadrija and Mariana Medina, your enduring friendship goes beyond words. Finally, to my sister, Paige, and my mom, Lori, thank you for always being on the same page, as well as providing unconditional love and encouragement to pursue my education and passions.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Interruption (Psychology); Job stress


appraisal; attributes; energy; interruptions; work stress


Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Document Type

Masters theses




xii, 81 leaves