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Investigation of the effect of social support perceived by workplace employees on anxiety and job satisfaction during COVID-191



The COVID-19 pandemic has become a major cause of stress and anxiety at work.


To examine the effects of the support provided to the employees by the workplaces about the depression, anxiety, stress, job satisfaction of the employees during the COVID-19.


The inclusion criterias were as follows: being between 18 and 65 years old, working at the time of the survey. The study self-administered included Depression-Anxiety-Stress Scale (DASS), Organizational Support Perception Scale, Job Satisfaction Scale (JSS).


In total, 260 people (mean age 38.17±14.9 years, 148 female) completed the survey. Extremely severe depression displayed on 39.9 %, extremely severe anxiety on 37.1%, and severe stress on 28.3% of the participants. Scores for depression (9.6±9.03), anxiety (7.2±7.04), stress (11.7±7.8) were also high for employees. It was observed that the average of organizational support score was 30.4±7.24, and the average job satisfaction score was 28.6±5.35. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between organizational support and job satisfaction (r = 0.562, p = 0.00). Considering the relationship between organizational support and DASS scale; there was negative correlation between (r =-0.161, p = 0.013). The results of the regression indicated that the model explained 32.9 % of the variance and that the model was a significant predictor, F (2,66)=117.145, p < 0.001.


Organizational support are associated with a decline in mental health and job satisfaction. Health-promotion strategies directed at adopting or maintaining positive job organizational support-related behaviors should be utilized to address increases in psychological distress during the pandemic.


Since March 2020 and later in Europe, COVID-19 has spread rapidly and eventually reached Turkey, leading to major changes in business operations. While various measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus and loss of life worldwide, our country has also taken its own important measures [1].

Governments and businesses recommended working from home or remotely, and this affected all types of activities outside of key industries and services (e.g., hospitals, essential product supplies, pharmacies, food sales, etc.). At the same time, many productive sectors suddenly suspended their activities, and this impacted most trade, small services and hospitality businesses, and other non-essential activities and industries. These changes resulted in headcount losses and high rates of temporary layoffs [1, 2]. However, the effects on individuals and their families who have lost their jobs, been temporarily laid off, or perceived a possible job loss or a deterioration in working conditions are already clear. These issues can have adverse effects on many aspects of people’s physical, mental, and psychosocial health, including deaths when such conditions involve epidemics [3–5].

Previous research has shown that a lack of workplace social support has negative effects on job satisfaction and anxiety [6, 7]. In literature there are evidences about the role of organizational support perception in terms of workplaces on depression, anxiety, stress and job satisfaction. It is likely that uncertainty regarding the organizational support environment for many employees in vulnerable pandemic working conditions will increase [7].

Ascribing a personality to the organization where employees work increases their work effort and is important for meeting the need for praise and approval. The general beliefs developed by the employee about how much the organization values their contributions and how much importance is attached to their happiness comprise the perception of organizational support [8, 9]. The organization, which takes into account the creative ideas, suggestions, include them in decision processes, respect rights and criticisms of the employees and puts them into practice, provides relative job security to the employees and assures them that they will work continuously in the workplace if they are successful. Such behaviors lead the employees of the organization to feel that the power of the organization is behind them and prevent feelings of loneliness on their good or bad days (during the COVID-19 pandemic) [8, 9]. Therefore, employees who face the threat of being crushed under their expectations are increasing their need for the support of the organization. However, it can be said that the perception of organizational support strengthens the belief that the employees will be remembered and rewarded by the organizations, thereby leading to increases in their performance [9, 10]. Most research has indicated that job satisfaction affects individuals beyond their work lives, and that the quality of life of the employees, including their mental and physical health, has changed. Job satisfaction as a tool to increase organizational efficiency and effectiveness [11, 12]. While motivating employees to work more efficiently during the pandemic period, it will ensure that they are more resistant to the problems they encounter at work. In addition, it is not known how the COVID-19 pandemic and related measures have affected the support behavior of employees from the organization.

This study was carried out in Turkey, where social distancing and stay-at-home policies were implemented in mid-March 2020. Research is currently focused on addressing the well-being of the general population, and there are few studies on the psychological distress of workers and the support that their organizations provide during the pandemic. Therefore, the present study aimed to examine the effects of the support provided to the employees by the workplaces about the depression, anxiety, stress and job satisfaction of the employees during the COVID-19 period.


Research is currently focused on addressing the psychological distress of employees and the support their organization provides during the pandemic.

2.1Study design and sampling

The study was conducted using the Google Forms web survey platform. The poll link was shared via social media such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Participants were asked to share the study link to reach as many potential participants as possible across the country, using the method known as snowball sampling.

2.1.1Selection criteria

Access to the questionnaire database was kept open for 2 weeks and data were collected from individuals who agreed to volunteer. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 who participated in the study. The study group of the research was tried to be made on those working in various sectors. The total number of individuals participated in the study is 290. The study completed with 260 employees.

2.1.2Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Inclusion criteria for participation were: 1) being a employee, 2) being between 18 and 65 years old and 3) working at the time of the survey.

The exclusion criterion were: 1) not working during the data-collection period and 2) not being between 18 and 65 years old.

2.1.3Ethical approval

The research was carried out in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.This study was approved by Scientific Research Ethics Committee of Trakya University (decided no:TÜTF-BAEK 2020/179, date 22.05.2020). All participants were informed about the purpose and procedure of the study before the evaluation.Volunteer participation was ensured by obtaining consent with the informed consent form.

2.1.4Sample size

Sample size calculation was conducted using G-power 3.1. According to this method a minimum of 126 participants is needed; given that the margin of error alpha (α)=0.05, the confidence level is = 0.85.The sample size was also calculated using G-power 3.1 method, which provides a similar sample size [13]. A total of 290 survey were received. After removing the questionnaires with more than thirteen consecutive extreme values or more than seventeen missing values, 260 valid survey were obtained.

2.2Data collection tools

2.2.1Sociodemographic information

Individuals working in various jobs in the society were recorded by learning age, gender, marital status, education levels, occupational information, employment status.

2.2.2Organizational support perception scale [20]

Reliability and validity study was done by Kaplan, 2010. The scale is a five-point Likert-type scale; “I strongly disagree”, “I disagree”, “I am indecisive”, “I agree” and “I strongly agree”. Starting with the strongly disagree option, it is rated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. [14]

2.2.3Depression-Anxiety-Stress Scale (DASS 42)

Reliability and validity study was done by Uncu et al. DASS-42. It is a 42-item tool that measures depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. The scores accepted in the normal range are 0–9 for depression, 0–7 for anxiety and 0–14 for stress [15].

2.2.4Job Satisfaction Scale (JSS)

The scale is a four-point Likert-type scale consisting of 10 questions. Answers from questions in the scale are scored between 1 and 4. The scores of 20 and higher are evaluated as having job satisfaction. The reliability coefficient of the scale whose validity and reliability was made by Tezer [16].

2.3Statistical analysis

Descriptive statistics including means and standard deviations, or frequencies and proportions were calculated to describe data. Pearson correlation test was used to see whether there is a statistically significant relationship between Perception of Organizational Support, Job Satisfaction and DASS (depression, anxiety, stress). Mann-Whitney U, test was used comparing DASS (stress, anxiety, depression), organizational support perception, job satisfaction scores by variables. Regression analysis conducted to determine the effect of perceived organizational support on job satisfaction and depression behaviors.

Statistical significance level was accepted as p < 0.05. The evaluation of the data was done using the SPSS 11.5 for Windows program (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA).


3.1Sociodemographic variables

The sociodemographic characteristics of the study sample are presented in Table 1. In total, 260 people (mean age 38.17±14.9 years, 148 female) completed the survey. Most (n = 160, 61.3%) were married. It was determined that 22.3 % of the participants worked in health (Table 1).

Table 1

Demographic features of participants

  Not literate31.2
  Primary education103.8
  High school197.3
Salary (YTL)1000–19993212.3
4000–500052 02
9000 ve üzeri135
Sector typeEducation5621,5

3.8 % of the employees were layoff. 42.3% of employees’ income decreased. 40 % of employees work remotely (Table 2). Perception of organizational support and job satisfaction scores of employees have the idea of changing their job were found to be significantly low than the scores of not employees have the idea of changing their job (p < 0.05) (Table 3). A negative relationship was found between working hours and job satisfaction (r = –0.159, p < 0.010). This result shows that the longer the working hours in the workplace, the lower the job satisfaction (Table 4).

Table 2

Socio-demographic features of participants with work (Continued)

Socio-demographic featuresN(260)%
The idea of changing jobsYes176.5
Working day2 day176.5
3–4 day5511.2
5–6 day2911.4
7 day15961.2
Working hoursLess than 37729.6
4–8 hours12648.5
8–10 hours3312.7
12–15 hours145.4
15 and over103.8
Income decreasedYes11042.3
The way it works has changedYes21783.5
How the way it works has changedNot working3513.5
Remote work10440
Normal overtime3011.5
Flexible working7528.8
Partial support applicationYes3513.3
COVID-19 degree of complianceOne- three3613.7
Four- five22486.1
Table 3

Comparing DASS (stress, anxiety, depression), organizational support perception, job satisfaction scores by variables

VariablesStress scoreAnxiety scoreDepression scoreOrganizational support scoreJob satisfaction score
Health (58)
Service (38)
Finance (3)198722117.62511.8224.7
Other (105)
Pp = 0.177p = 0.329p = 0.203p = 0.040*p = 0.001**
Work hours
Less than 311.078.16.356.318.949.21326.630.294.02
15 and over12.709.59.509.710,9013.3730.607.94287.13
Pp = 0.728p = 0.699p = 0.773p = 0.344p = 0.027*
It works has changed
Not working11.829.187.806.4710.609.2928.919.0927.346.00
Work in home12.337.967.807.4910.7110.1610.160.99929.505.16
Regular work13.108.059.437.8911.969.6527.907.2826.965.08
Flexible work11.097.336.046.487.776.9830.707.2229.285.42
Pp = 0.328p = 0.026**p = 0.090p = 0.153p = 0.009**
Considering a job change
pp = 0.472p = 0.580p = 0.552p = 0.014*p = 0.016*
p = 0.33p = 0.017*p = 0.047*p = 0.001**p = 0.001 **
COVID-19 degree of compliance4.811.999.6317.7418,83

N,number *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001. Mann-WhitneyU;U.

Table 4

Pearson correlation between the variables and DASS (stress, anxiety, depression), organizational support, job satisfaction

Pearson Korelâsyon AnaliziStress scoreAnxiety scoreDepression scoreOrganizational support scoreJob satisfaction score
Working sectorr-0.008r-0.034r-0.009r-0.088r-0.220**
p 0.900p 0.590p 0.881p 0.158p 0.000
Working hoursr-0.038r-0.068r-0.025r-0.060r-0.159*
p 0.541p 0.278p 0.688p 0.332p 0.010
Layoffr0.047r0.070R 0.038r-0.123*r-0.097
p 0.452p 0.258p 0.539p 0.047p 0.118
How the way it works has changedr-0.090r-0.142*r-0.161**r-0.026r-0.003
p 0.146p 0.022p 0.009p 0.682p 0.966
Considering a job changer0.075r0.051r0.073r-,124*r-0.125*
p 0.226p0.410p0.238p 0.046p 0.045
COVID-19 degree of compliancer-0.106r-0.212**r-0.161**r0.269**r0.237**
p 0.087p 0.001p 0.009p 0.000p 0.000

*significant diffeerence between categories; ^ p value of Spearman’s correlation between *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001.


DASS depression mean score was found to be 9.6±9.03 (Table 3). DASS depression was detected in 39.9% (104 people). A negative correlation (r = –0.161, p < 0.013) was found between organizational support and DASS depression. A significantly negative correlation was found between DASS depression (r = –0.343, p < 0.000) and job satisfaction. It was found that depression findings were observed in finans sector type with the lowest job satisfaction (Table 5).

Table 5

Pearson correlation between perception of organizational support, job satisfaction and DASS (depression, anxiety, stress) (n = 260)

Job satisfactionDASS depressionDASS stressDASS anksiyete
Organizational supportr = 0.562r = –0.161r = –0.226r = –0.182
p = 0.000***p = 0.013**p = 0.001**p = 0.005*
Job satisfactionr = –0.343r = –0.226r = –0.182
p = 0.000***p = 0.001**p = 0.005*

*significant diffeerence between categories; þp value of Spearman’s correlation between,r *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001.

3.3DASS anxiety

DASS anxiety point average was found to be 7.2±7.04 (Table 3). DASS anxiety was detected in 37.1% (97 people). A negative relationship was found between DASS anxiety and job satisfaction (r = –0.182, p < 0.005). Anxiety was found in health sector type with low job satisfaction (Table 5).


DASS stress score average was found to be 11.7±7.8 (Table 3). DASS stress was detected in 28.3% (74 people). It can be said that there is a significant negative relationship between job satisfaction and DASS stress (r = –0.226, p < 0.001) (Table 5). It was found that stress findings were observed in finans sector type with the lowest job satisfaction.

3.5Relationship between the perception of organizational support and job satisfaction

It was observed that the average of organizational support score was 30.4±7.24, and the average job satisfaction score was 28.6±5.35 (Table 3). In the research, a strong positive relationship was found between organizational support and job satisfaction(r = 0.562, p = 0.000) (Table 5).

3.6Regression results

A simple linear regression was carried out to investigate whether organizational support could significantly predict participants’ job satisfaction. The results of the regression indicated that the model explained 32.9% of the variance and that the model was a significant predictor, F (2,66) = 117.145, p < 0.001. It was found that organizational support statistically significantly predicted is job satisfaction (β= 0.423, p < 0.001) (Table 6).

Table 6

Simple Linear Regression Analysis Results Performed on Predicting Psychological Health (The effect of organizational support on job satisfaction, on depression)

Variable Independent Variable βSE95% CI for βp value
Organizational support(effect on job satisfaction)0.4230.0390.3460.500< 0.001
Organizational support(effect on depression)–0.2650.079–0. 420–0.110< 0.001

The final predictive model was: Job satisfaction =15.675 + 0.423* Organizational support. According to this: One unit increase in organizational support increases job satisfaction by 0.423 units (Table 6).

A simple linear regression was carried out to investigate whether organizational support could significantly predict participants’ depression. The results of the regression indicated that the model explained 4.5% of the variance and that the model was a significant predictor, F (2,66) = 11.37, p < 0.001. It was found that organizational support statistically significantly predicted is depression (β= –0.265 p < 0.001).

The final predictive model was: Depression = 17. 791±0.265* Organizational support. According to this: One unit increase in organizational support reduces depression by 0.265 units (Table 6). The method we use: Simple linear regression.


In this study, which examined Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have tried to reveal the interaction between the perception of organizational support variable and the anxiety and job satisfaction variables. The findings of the study show that individuals’ mental health and job satisfaction are affected by some demographic variables and the social support systems of the organizations they work with.

When working styles are examined in a study; due to the current coronavirus pandemic which emerged at the beginning of April 2020, more than one million Finns were working from home [17, 29]. In our study, 40% of individuals worked from home. The rate of flexible working individuals is 28.8%. The most important issue for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic period has been avoiding the virus and living a healthy life. In the study by Kırpık, unfortunately, many workplaces continued to require in-person work, putting their employees’ health at risk and causing them to be anxious at the workplace [18]. In our study, the stress, anxiety and depression levels of home workers and those with flexible working hours were found to be lower than employees with normal work hours. Organizational support perception levels of those with flexible working hours were found to be higher than those with other working conditions.

Employees are known to have been fired or sent on leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic [19]. In one study, it was stated that 54% of individuals were worried about losing their jobs [20]. In the study by Ting et al., it was stated that while only 10 million workers in the United States were concerned about unemployment a week ago, this figure reached 22 million a week later [21]. Accordingly, the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic is very clear, and this situation is alarming for employees. The rate of dismissal in our study was as low as 3.8%. It is thought that the amount of financial support provided by the state to the workplaces in Turkey has a significant share in its low level.

In prior studies, it has been shown that organizational support affects quitting through job satisfaction and also positively affects the job satisfaction and mood of employees [10, 12]. In our study, the rate of people thinking of leaving their jobs was 6.5%. Uncertainty regarding one’s work life due to COVID-19 may have reduced the employee’s job satisfaction and loyalty to the workplace, thereby leading to the intention to quit. As a result of the correlation analysis conducted to determine the direction of the relationship between perceived organizational support, job satisfaction and employees’ intention to quit;a statistically significant result was obtained. In similar studies in the literature, it has been determined [22–25]. When employees feel valued and supported for their well-being and well-being, their intention to leave their jobs decreases [26, 27].

It is predicted that there is great uncertainty at the global level; it is not known when everything will return to normal, and therefore there will be instability and a lack of confidence in the market for a long time. In this context, to support employment, partial unemployment benefits have been extended in France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Unemployment benefits have been expanded in some countries. In our study, the rate of those whose financial income decreased was 41.9%, and the rate of employees who applied for partial support due to financial loss or unemployment was 13.3%. Like our country, various others have provided aid for their employees to support their income [28].

During this period, most businesses have been temporarily suspended. Only businesses providing essential services have been allowed to continue their operations [25]. Similarly, the individuals in our study worked in the health, education, finance, and service sectors. Organizational support and job satisfaction scores of employees who received partial support were found to be higher. It was determined that employers provide organizational support to individuals who have financial difficulties in economic terms.

When the relationship between compliance with the Covid-related rules and organizational support is examined;In the study conducted by Nastopoulous, it has been shown that businesses that enable employees to work with personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves during the process of staying at work and home can easily adapt and solve problems [29]. In a similar study, 75% of individuals stated that their employers were interested in the health of their employees during the pandemic process [20]. Similarly, in our study, the degree of compliance of the majority of employees (80.5%) with the rules related to COVID-19 was found to be extremely high. These actions also show how important the health and safety of their employees is to them during COVID-19.

When the relevant literature was examined, few studies examining the perception of organizational support were found. In studied, it was seen that the average perceived organizational support of the participating employees was at a medium level (3,337±0,750) [8] and (3.00±0.666) [26]. In our study, it was found that the perceptions of organizational support among individuals working during the COVID-19 pandemic were low (“I am undecided” (3.00.±7.241). This result is similar or low to the findings of many studies in the literature [22, 26, 30, 31]. The reason for it being lower than the literature study is that during the COVID-19 period, the organization’s employees were not safe themselves, they did not feel the power of the employer behind them, and they reported negative moods. In prior studies, it has been shown that the negative perceptions of the employees about this support will reflect negatively on the individuals [8, 32]. Based on these results, it can be said that organizational support practices for employees should be developed. Employees expect their emotional expectations to be met in addition to their financial needs in return for their services and job performance.

Another change in working conditions was flexible working hours. A total of 61.22% of the employees in this study worked every day of the week. There have been changes in the process of working from home due to efforts made within organizations. In our study, the number of people who worked eight hours or more was found to be 50.4%. Similar to our study, it has been observed that working remotely increases the workload for employees at home due to mismanagement in some companies [33]. According the data collected from many other countries, 83% of employees have adapted to their new working environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic [20]. While 75% of those were able to adjust their working hours at home while maintaining a family and work balance, the majority of our working group members could not adjust their working hours. Due to the distance from colleagues and supervisors, studies found that more effort was made and the need to show more was needed [20]. In our study, similar to the literature, home workers could not get enough support from their colleagues and employers and their working hours increased. Hence, organizational support perception scores decreased. Some organizational processes also change when working from home. Some employees reported that their supervisors gave support and showed a more protective and understanding approach, while some stated that there was no change or that they howed stricter behavior due to work. This has been explained by how employers behave more strictly in terms of working hours, since there is no such thing as “going to work” when working from home [20].

When examined whether there is a difference between depression, anxiety, and stress and occupational groups; there may be individuals who experience the anxiety of losing their health and their job simultaneously. In studies investigating whether healthcare workers had psychosocial problems during the COVID-19 outbreak, it was observed that the anxiety and depression symptoms of employees who were in direct contact with patients were higher than those who were not in contact [18, 34]. Our study results are in parallel with the knowledge reported in the literature.

Previous studies on the relationship between workplace social support perception, job satisfaction levels, and mental health in the period of COVID-19 showed that there is a direct relationship between social support and health [7, 10]. In particular, the protective effect of social support perception on the consequences of stress has been demonstrated in psychosocial studies. In classical studies, social support was found to have been diminished in the presence of interpersonal resources that directly respond to the needs of people experiencing stressful events [7]. In our study, the job satisfaction of employees with low organizational support was found to be low. Sector type with the lowest job satisfaction included finans sector type and health. The low perceived organizational support caused the them to develop a negative mood due to the decrease in their job satisfaction [30]. In the COVID-19 period, employees’ suggestions and complaints should be acknowledged, and they may also desire the consideration of their opinions, acceptance within the organization, support for compliance with pandemic rules, job security, and career and financial support. If their perception about whether their expectations are met is low, and if they feel that they are not being accepted within the organization, their psychological meaning may be disappearing [35] on the COVID-19 pandemic, 16.5% reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms, and 28.8% had moderate to severe anxiety symptoms. Kwok et al. [36] reported that almost all the participants were worried about COVID-19. In our study, moderate to severe depressive symptoms were reported by 24.9% of working individuals, and anxiety was experienced by 27.5%. Given that both job insecurity and financial threats are strong job-related stress factors, the potential mitigating effect of perceived social support from a person’s social network is of great importance in balancing the negative health consequences of both [7]. According to this result, low perceived social support, as a socio psychological resource, increases an individual’s anxiety level and decreases its effect on job satisfaction. Other studies support this information [37, 38].

According to the results of the Regression analysis conducted to determine the effect of perceived organizational support on job satisfaction and depression behaviors; It was determined that perceived organizational support had a significant effect on job satisfaction (β= 0.423, p < 0.001) and it was 32.9% explanatory (F (2.66) = 117.145, p < 0.001). And analysis results showed that employees’ job satisfaction depends on perceived level of organizational support at a rate of 32.9%. In addition, it was observed that one unit increase in the perceived organizational support level of the employees caused an increase of 0.423 units in the job satisfaction level.

It is seen that organizational support also has a significant effect on depression behavior (β= –0.265 p < 0.001) and is 4.5% explanatory (F (2.66) = 11.37, p < 0.001). And analysis results showed that employees’ depressions were 4.5% dependent on perceived organizational support levels. In addition, it was observed that a one-unit increase in the perceived organizational support level of employees caused a 0.265 unit decrease in the depression level. As long as employees’ expectations are met, they strive to meet the expectations of their workplace.In order to increase the job satisfaction level of the employees, it is necessary not to overwhelm the employees.


All data are self-reported meaning responses are subject to recall bias. Additionally, longitudinal data are needed to observe changes over time to assess the impact of changes in social restrictions.


Based on the results, it can be said that organizational support practices for employees during COVID-19 should be developed. It has been determined that organizational support has important effects on increasing the employee’s job satisfaction and decreasing depression, stress and anxiety. For this reason, it has been determined that the level of organizational support, which seems to have a significant impact on their psychological status, can be increased by increasing support for employees and reducing work stress during COVID-19. Reducing job demands and workload, increasing job control and rewarding can help keep employees motivated and protected. Concrete reward systems to be implemented within the scope of perceived organizational support will help to meet the expectations of employees who have difficulties in meeting their socio-emotional needs.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest associated with this work.



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