Publications by Author: Walter, Kimberly N

2018
Almeida DM, Lee S, Walter KN, Lawson KM, Kelly EL, Buxton OM. The effects of a workplace intervention on employees’ cortisol awakening response. Community, Work & Family [Internet]. 2018;21 (2) :151-167. Publisher's VersionAbstract
ABSTRACTWork-related stressors are known to adversely affect employees’ stress physiology, including the cortisol awakening response (CAR) – or the spike in cortisol levels shortly after people wake up that aids in mobilizing energy. A flat or blunted CAR has been linked to chronic stress and burnout. This daily diary study tested the effects of a workplace intervention on employed parents’ CAR. Specifically, we tested whether the effects of the intervention on CAR were moderated by the type of days (workday versus non-work day). Data came from 94 employed parents from an information technology firm who participated in the baseline and 12-month diurnal cortisol components of the Work, Family, and Health Study, a group-randomized field experiment. The workplace intervention was designed to reduce work-family conflict (WFC) and implemented after the baseline data collection. Diurnal salivary cortisol was collected on 4 days at both baseline and 12 months. Multilevel modeling revealed that the intervention significantly increased employees’ CAR at 12 months on non-workdays, but this was not evident on workdays or for employees in the usual practice condition. The results provide evidence that the intervention was effective in enhancing employees’ biological stress physiology particularly during opportunities for recovery that are more likely to occur on non-work days.
2015
Almeida DM, Davis KD, Lee S, Lawson KM, Walter KN, Moen P. Supervisor Support Buffers Daily Psychological and Physiological Reactivity to Work-to-Family Conflict. Journal of Marriage and Family [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Using a daily diary design, the current study assessed within-person associations of work-to-family conflict with negative affect and salivary cortisol. Furthermore, the authors investigated whether supervisor support moderated these associations. Over 8 consecutive days, 131 working parents employed by an information technology company answered telephone interviews about stressors and mood that occurred in the previous 24 hours. On Days 2–4 of the study protocol, they also provided 5 saliva samples throughout the day that were assayed for cortisol. Results indicated a high degree of day-to-day fluctuation in work-to-family conflict, with employed parents having greater negative affect and poorer cortisol regulation on days with higher work-to-family conflict compared to days when they experience lower work-to-family conflict. These associations were buffered, however, when individuals had supervisors who offered support. Discussion centers on the use of dynamic assessments of work-to-family conflict and employee well-being.

2012
McHale SM, Blocklin MK, Walter KN, Davis KD, Almeida DM, Klein LC. The role of daily activities in youths' stress physiology. J Adolesc Health. 2012;51 (6) :623-8.Abstract
PURPOSE: This study examined links between diurnal patterns of the stress hormone cortisol and time spent by adolescents in nine common daily activities. METHODS: During eight consecutive nightly telephone interviews, 28 youths (n = 12 girls), 10-18 years of age, reported their daily activities. On 4 days, four saliva samples were also collected and assayed for cortisol. Multilevel models assessed within- and between-person associations between time in each activity and cortisol area under the curve (AUC), cortisol awakening response (CAR), morning peak (30 minutes after wake up), and daily decline (morning peak to bedtime). RESULTS: Links with AUC were found for most activities; significant associations with cortisol rhythms suggested that most effects were due to anticipation of the day's activities. Specifically, on days when youths spent more time than usual on video games and television, they had lower AUCs, with lower morning peaks. Youths who spent more time reading (within-person) and in computer-related activities (between-person) had higher AUCs, with stronger CARs (within-person). Youths who slept more had lower AUCs, with lower morning peaks on both the between- and within-person levels. Amounts of time spent in clubs, and for older adolescents in sports, were also linked to lower AUCs. Finally, youths who spent more time in school/schoolwork had lower average AUCs, but on days when youths spent more time than usual in school, they had higher AUCs, stronger CARs, and steeper daily declines. CONCLUSION: Beyond their known implications for psychological adjustment, youths' everyday activities are linked to stress physiology.