The present study aimed to explore the mediating role of hostile customer relations in the association between emotional dissonance and workers’ mental health. Moreover, the moderating role of proactive personality as a buer against hostile customer relations was assessed. Emotional demands become crucial within professions that involve a direct relationship with clients and, if poorly managed, can negatively aect workers’ health and performance. Accordingly, data were collected on a sample of n = 918 mass-retail employees working for one of the leading Italian supermarket companies. Most participants were women (62.7%) with a mean age = 40.38 (SD = 7.68). The results of a moderated mediation analysis revealed that emotional dissonance was related to more hostile customer relations that, in turn, were associated with higher rates of mental health symptoms. Proactive personality emerged as a protecting factor that prevented the onset of conflicts with clients, particularly among workers experiencing high levels of emotional dissonance. The identification of resources enabling management of emotional demands could suggest suitable adaptive strategies for customer-facing roles, thus preventing the occurrence of adverse mental health symptoms.
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