Detached Concern Testing of the Scale Validity and the Relationship with Work Engagement

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HyungIn Park
JiSun Nam


This study attempted to apply the concept of detached concern, an attitude that service workers may have towards customers, to Korean samples. In Study 1, the original detached concern scale was translated into Korean and then back-translated for comparison and refinement. The Korean detached concern scale was then validated with a sample of 143 full-time, overage Korean workers using three facets of burnout as the criteria. The results of confirmatory factor analyses indicated that detachment and concern were two independent facets. Also, the response surface graph showed that professional inefficacy significantly decreased when detachment and concern matched at high levels rather than at low levels. In Study 2, we examined whether detached concern would predict the three facets of work engagement after a month with 374 Korean customer service workers using the scale validated in Study 1. We also hypothesized that job control would weaken the relationships. All variables were measured twice with a one-month interval. Polynomial regressions revealed that detachment and concern measured at Time 1 jointly had significant effects on all facets of work engagement measured at Time 2. Also, the moderating effects of job control were observed but different for all three facets. These results suggest that detached concern may play an important role in the psychological well-being of emotional labor workers. Based on these findings, academic and practical implications were discussed along with suggestions for future research.


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Park, H., & Nam, J. (2021). Detached Concern: Testing of the Scale Validity and the Relationship with Work Engagement. Korean Journal of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 34(4), 629–662.
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