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Patterns and predictors of change in energy and mood around a vacation from the workplace: Distinguishing the effects of supplemental work activity and work-related perseverative cognition

Flaxman, P. ORCID: 0000-0002-6417-2499, Stride, C. B., Newman, S. A. & Menard, J. (2022). Patterns and predictors of change in energy and mood around a vacation from the workplace: Distinguishing the effects of supplemental work activity and work-related perseverative cognition. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, doi: 10.1111/joop.12410

Abstract

This study contributes to the vacation literature by exploring predictors of change in school teachers’ negative affective states around a 2-week (Christmas) vacation. Drawing from a combination of self-regulatory and effort-recovery theoretical principles, we hypothesized that supplemental work activity during the vacation might have some positive consequences for mood state, while simultaneously impairing the ability to recover from work-related exhaustion. Ninety teachers completed measures across eight consecutive weeks, spanning the period before, during, and after vacation (710 observations in total). Teachers’ weekly levels of emotional exhaustion, anxious mood, and depressed mood decreased significantly from before to during the vacation. Following the vacation, anxious mood showed the most rapid rate of increase, returning to its prevacation level within 2 weeks of work resumption. Exhaustion and depressed mood reemerged more gradually across 4 consecutive weeks following the vacation. Supplemental work activity during the vacation was associated with weaker recovery from exhaustion, but did not exhibit a detrimental relationship with change in anxious or depressed mood. Of note, supplemental working during the vacation was associated with a less pronounced reemergence of anxious mood after the vacation. Work-related perseverative cognition (worry and rumination) during the vacation impeded energy restoration and mood repair and was related to faster fade out of beneficial vacation effects. These findings demonstrate the utility of examining discrete energy and mood states in respite research, reveal the mixed functions of engaging in supplemental work activity during vacations, and highlight the harmful impact of perseverative cognition on the recovery from work process.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The British Psychological Society.
Publisher Keywords: vacation; recovery; mood; exhaustion; perseverative cognition
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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