Entrepreneurs are perceived to be stressed (Boyd & Gumpert, 1983) and over two-thirds of business owners reported running a business as more stressful than working for others (Bibby Financial Services, 2008). We take an affective perspective to understand entrepreneurial stress. Individuals often use their affect to evaluate how they feel about a situation (Schwarz & Clore, 1983). Due to affect-laden information, entrepreneurs experiencing positive affect may concurrently perceive that their ventures are progressing nicely and report less stress. In contrast those experiencing negative affect may also perceive problems leading to stress perceptions.

We hypothesize self-efficacy and entrepreneurial experience as stress buffers. High self-efficacy individuals tend to perceive that they have control over the situation, are resilient, and engage in self-aiding thoughts (Bandura, 1999). Thus, these individuals like challenging activities and persevere through difficulty. Experienced entrepreneurs may react less to adversity because they have developed start-up skills and strategies to resolve venture problems (Wiklund & Shepherd, 2008). They may also discover new opportunities, and if the current venture fails, start other businesses (Bates, 1995).