Vacation effects on behaviour, cognition and emotions of compulsive and non-compulsive workers: Do obsessive workers go 'Cold Turkey'?

Jessica De Bloom*, Mirjam Radstaak, Sabine Geurts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Compulsive workers often face psychological and physical health disturbances because of working long hours and an obsessive preoccupation with work during off-job time. Prolonged respite episodes may either relief these employees from their daily stressors to recover or trigger withdrawal symptoms. Our research question was as follows: How do (1) work hours, (2) rumination and (3) affective well-being unfold for compulsive workers compared with non-compulsive workers across long vacations? In a longitudinal field study, work hours, rumination and affective well-being were assessed in 54 employees 2 weeks before, during and in the first, second and fourth week after a long summer vacation. Working compulsively was assessed 3 weeks before vacation. Work hours decreased during and increased after vacation. Levels of rumination dropped during vacation and remained below baseline until 2 weeks after vacation. Initial differences in rumination between obsessive and non-obsessive workers disappeared during and directly after vacation. Affective well-being rose during vacation and returned to baseline directly after vacation. Increases in affective well-being during vacation as well as decreases after vacation were greater in obsessive workers than in non-obsessive workers. Vacations seem to temporarily offset characteristic differences between obsessive and non-obsessive workers, decrease rumination and improve affective well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-243
Number of pages12
JournalStress and Health
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • holiday
  • rumination
  • stress
  • work hours
  • workaholic

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