Date of Conferral





Human Services


Andrew Carpenter


Many investigators have documented high levels of stress in the U.S. workplace and the underutilization of employee assistance programs (EAP). Researchers in other studies have concluded that an employee's perception of a service influences participation and service use. However, the perceptions of geographically distributed employees, who represent a growing population, have not been sufficiently examined. The purpose of this study was to investigate geographically distributed employees' perceptions regarding access to EAP stress management services to address the problem of EAP underutilization. Organizational justice theory served as the theoretical framework. The study design was generic qualitative. A purposeful sample of 15 geographically distributed employees provided rich data through semi structured interviews and online questionnaires. The use of generic inductive coding yielded emergent themes regarding geographically distributed employees. Results indicated that geographically distributed employee's perceived access to EAP stress management services as unclear, time-consuming, and inconvenient due to physical separation. This research is significant for human service, employee assistance, and human resource professionals who want to improve geographically distributed employees' perceptions of access to EAP stress management programs. More effective marketing may increase employee use of EAP services and alleviate workplace stress, thus positively impacting social change by helping to cultivate a healthy workforce.