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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Kenneth Shultz


The present study investigated whether there is a relationship between workload and cognitive overload with self-efficacy, perfectionism, and psychological resilience as possible moderators. Cognitive Load Theory states that individuals have a finite amount of working memory. When the working memory load has reached its maximum, individuals experience cognitive overload. Employees with a higher workload receive higher amounts of information, increasing their cognitive load, thus being more likely to reach cognitive overload. However, self-efficacious individuals, perfectionists, and resilient individuals are more motivated to reach their goals and will persevere despite obstacles. Therefore, I proposed that perceived workload and perceived cognitive overload would be correlated and that self-efficacy, perfectionism, and resilience would moderate that relationship. Using a web-based questionnaire, 278 adults working at least 25 hours per week were given a series of self-report measures about their perceived workload, cognitive overload, self-efficacy, perfectionism, and resilience. Workload was found to be positively correlated with cognitive overload, but self-efficacy, perfectionism, and resilience did not moderate the relationship between workload and cognitive overload. Subsequent analyses provide limited support that level of education moderates the workload-cognitive overload relationship. As personal characteristics do not moderate the relationship between workload and cognitive overload, management in organizations will want to explore different ways to affect the perceived workload of their employees.