Solving problems or seeing troubles? A day-level study on the consequences of thinking about work on recovery and well-being, and the moderating role of self-regulation

Abbas Firoozabadi*, Sjir Uitdewilligen, Fred R. H. Zijlstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This study examined, using a within-person design, how fluctuations in work-related affective rumination and problem-solving pondering are related to recovery and well-being (N=171; 677 day-level data points over five consecutive work days). We hypothesized that trait self-regulation moderates the relationship between problem-solving during the evening and the state of being recovered at bedtime. We analyzed our data using a moderated multilevel mediation approach. The results showed that affective rumination during the evening was indirectly related to impaired well-being in the subsequent morning through its negative relationship with the state of being recovered at bedtime. Problem-solving was indirectly related to well-being in the subsequent morning through its relationship with the state of being recovered at bedtime. However, this indirect effect was moderated by trait self-regulation in a way that problem-solving pondering was positively related to the state of being recovered, and consequently, to improved well-being for employees higher in self-regulation, whereas it was negatively related to the state of being recovered, and consequently, to impaired well-being for those lower in self-regulation. These findings suggest that problem-solving pondering may be beneficial or unfavorable for recovery and well-being depending on the degree to which employees can regulate their cognitions and feelings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-641
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Work-related rumination
  • problem-solving
  • recovery
  • psychological well-being
  • self-regulation
  • COGNITIVE ACTIVATION THEORY
  • OFF-JOB TIME
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL DETACHMENT
  • POSITIVE AFFECT
  • EGO DEPLETION
  • PERSEVERATIVE COGNITION
  • MULTILEVEL MODELS
  • UNFINISHED TASKS
  • NEGATIVE AFFECT
  • RUMINATION

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