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Psychological Detachment From Work During Leisure Time: The Benefits of Mentally Disengaging From Work

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Abstract

Psychological detachment from work during leisure time refers to a state in which people mentally disconnect from work and do not think about job-related issues when they are away from their job. Empirical research has shown that employees who experience more detachment from work during off-hours are more satisfied with their lives and experience fewer symptoms of psychological strain, without being less engaged while at work. Studies have demonstrated that fluctuations in individuals’ psychological detachment from work can explain fluctuations in their affective states, and have identified positive relations between detachment from work during off-hours and job performance. Trait negative affectivity, high involvement in one’s job, job stressors, and poor environmental conditions are negatively related to psychological detachment from work during off-job time.
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... With the rising number of stressors caused by obligations and responsibilities, leisure activities play a significant role in increasing psychological resources such as self-efficacy and positive affect [39], protecting individuals from being burnt out by effectively taking time off from work. Detaching from work during the weekend positively affects job performance and other work behaviors [40,41] and off-work activities positively affect the following week's work behaviors [41,42]. Engaging in leisure activities provides individuals with a chance to spend time away from obligatory tasks and responsibilities (e.g., job, childrearing responsibilities) and to recover their mental baseline or psychological resources [40,41]. ...
... Detaching from work during the weekend positively affects job performance and other work behaviors [40,41] and off-work activities positively affect the following week's work behaviors [41,42]. Engaging in leisure activities provides individuals with a chance to spend time away from obligatory tasks and responsibilities (e.g., job, childrearing responsibilities) and to recover their mental baseline or psychological resources [40,41]. Summing up the results from these studies in the organizational and occupational psychology literature as well as from the leisure studies, we could expect leisure life satisfaction to help individuals cope with negative experiences of stress (hindrance stressors) as it facilitates resource replenishment. ...
... Extant literature has proposed that leisure activities could increase various personal resources such as selfefficacy and resilience [55], and our study proposes stress relief as another type of resource, triggered by leisure, which could enhance individuals' wellbeing. Organizational and occupational health scholars have posited that the stress received during the workweek could be relieved when individuals engage in leisure activities over the weekend [40,41]. Leisure engagement and activities provide psychological resources and these additional resources could help individuals cope with stress at work. ...
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Under the continuous spread of COVID-19 infection, individuals are finding their own ways to manage their stress and subjective wellbeing. The main objective of this research is to test the role of leisure life satisfaction on one’s subjective wellbeing in the era of COVID-19 as mediated by stress relief. Individuals’ satisfaction with leisure life is hypothesized to both directly and indirectly affect their subjective wellbeing as mediated by relieved stress. The positive impact of stress relief on one’s subjective wellbeing is hypothesized to be moderated by the perceived seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from a large-scale social survey in South Korea (N = 40,085) were used to test the hypotheses and the results confirmed them. Theoretical and managerial implications that stress the importance of the strategic management of one’s leisure life are discussed.
... Due to the altered concerns about the school community's coping with the pandemic and intensification of new work demands, some principals might have found it also difficult to detach from work while attempting to respond to the crisis situation. Psychological detachment from work describes individuals' ability to disengage during off-work hours, which is an essential part of recovery (Sonnentag, 2012). Inability to detach and "switch off " from work during leisure time can later manifest as altered occupational stress (Sonnentag, 2012). ...
... Psychological detachment from work describes individuals' ability to disengage during off-work hours, which is an essential part of recovery (Sonnentag, 2012). Inability to detach and "switch off " from work during leisure time can later manifest as altered occupational stress (Sonnentag, 2012). ...
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The present study examined latent profiles of school principals’ stress concerning students’, teachers’, parents’, and principals’ own ability to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the role of job demands (workload, remote work stress, difficulty to detach from work, COVID-19 crisis, COVID-19 infections at school, impact of COVID-19 on future teaching), resources (buoyancy, effective crisis leadership, social appreciation, successful transition to remote teaching), and occupational well-being (measured as job burnout and engagement) in predicting the latent profiles of stress sources was examined. The participants were 535 (59% women) school principals across Finland, who answered to a questionnaire concerning their sources of stress and occupational well-being during spring 2020. Three latent profiles were identified according to principals’ level of stress: high stress (41.4% of the school principals), altered stress (35.9%), and low stress (22.7%) profiles. Work burnout, workload, COVID-19 related concerns, and difficulty to detach from work increased the probability of principals belonging to the high or altered stress profile rather than to the low stress profile. Work engagement, buoyancy, and social appreciation increased the probability of principals belonging to the low rather than to the high or altered stress profile.
... It is imperative that LEOs establish practices and routines that help them to psychologically detach or switch off from work during off-hours. For example, this means not checking on work-related communications, like emails or messages or thinking about cases or calls they have attended to (Sonnentag, 2012). This can be very difficult for some members depending on their personalities, workloads, and current mental states. ...
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Police officers engage in dangerous and potentially highly traumatizing circumstances. It is common for officers to experience PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that affect their work performance and family life. Often seeking support from their institution or organization is stigmatized and experienced as a significant drawback to their work environment. The number of variables that affect an officer's mental health are numerous and cannot be undermined. For example, a negative world view, lack of family support, traumatic events, suppression of emotions, self-medicating, toxic work environment, unsupportive organization, and lack of peer support all intertwine to create a whirlwind of adverse mental health outcomes. The organization has made some attempts to support police officers with their mental health needs, such as a post-critical incident seminar by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unfortunately, this is just one element that has been put in place, but there remains an enormous gap in providing the needed support. In this paper, we highlight and inform on practices to prevent and cope with job demands that can be implemented in the organization and individually, such as mental detachment, reframing, refrain from personalization, permeance, and catastrophizing. Some strategies that can decrease organizational stress are meditation, showering and bathing practices, exercise, peer and group support, quality sleep, good nutrition, listening to music, and organization of the work environment. This paper highlights how crucial peer and organizational support is in the lives of police officers. The need for normalizing their experience by sharing withothers who have had similar experiences and been given the tools to cope are an essential part of the efforts put forward to assist police officers and their families.
... Greater perceived control over leisure time has been associated with greater well-being, but an absence of control has been found to relate to a higher level of stress (16,49,(51)(52)(53). Psychological detachment entails being able to mentally disengage from work and is critical to help prevent fatigue, burnout, and emotional exhaustion (37,54,55). Yet, being on-call has a negative impact on recovery (1,4,16,37). ...
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Objective: To assess the impact of on-call duties on veterinarians' job satisfaction, well-being and personal relationships. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Sample: The sample was obtained from Veterinary Information Network (VIN) members in private practice within the United States. Procedures: A link to an anonymous online survey was distributed via an email invitation to all Veterinary Information Network (VIN) members with access from August 15, 2017 to October 21, 2017. Results: A total of 1,945 responses were recorded. The majority of those who reported having on-call duties were female associates. Composite scales were created to assess the impact of on-call shifts on job satisfaction and well-being. Multiple linear regression was conducted and found that gender ( p = 0.0311), associate status ( p < 0.0001), and age ( p = 0.0293) were all significantly associated with on-call related job satisfaction. Additionally, multiple linear regression found that gender ( p = 0.0039), associate status ( p < 0.0057), and age ( p < 0.0001) were all significantly associated with on-call related well-being. On-call shifts were reported by many to have a negative impact on job satisfaction and well-being; this was especially pronounced for female associates. Females had on-call related job satisfaction scores that were, on average, 1.27 points lower than that of males (lower scores equates to lower job satisfaction). Further, females' average on-call related well-being scores were 1.15 points higher than that of males (lower scores equates to higher well-being). Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: This study suggests that on-call shifts have a negative impact on veterinarian job satisfaction, well-being and personal relationships. The negative impact on job satisfaction and well-being is greatest for female associates. Veterinary medicine has been identified as a stressful occupation that can lead to psychological distress. It is therefore important to critically assess current practices that appear to increase stress and reduce emotional well-being. For this reason, it is suggested that veterinary hospitals explore alternative options to traditional on-call shifts.
... It could also be argued that social support outside the workplace may assist in another way. Following Sonnentag (2012), employees with access to greater levels of social support outside the workplace may be better able to detach and disengage from the burdens of work because of their greater involvement and engagement in family and community life. As a consequence, employees with greater social support outside work may be better able to recover from the stresses and difficulty of their lives at work (Bennett et al., 2018;Sonnentag and Fritz, 2015). ...
Article
Purpose Work intensity causes employee stress. This paper demonstrates that off-the-job embeddedness (OffJE), a potential source of social support resources, buffers the negative effect of work intensity on employee stress. Design/methodology/approach Guided by conservation of resources (COR) and job embeddedness theory (JET), this paper reports on the moderated regression analysis of the survey responses of 385 adult employees from a variety of industries in Queensland, Australia, using a student-recruited sampling strategy. Findings Higher levels of work intensity were found to be associated with higher levels of employee stress. However, this effect was weaker for employees who had higher OffJE. In this sample, work intensity has no relationship with stress for employees who report OffJE beyond the 70th percentile. Originality/value This paper demonstrates the positive role of outside workplace relationships embodied in OffJE on workplace employee experience, justifies employer work-life balance initiatives and community involvement, demonstrates the potential positive return for employer involvement in helping employees manage the experience of work intensity and contributes to the social support, COR and job embeddedness literature studies.
... Corroborating the findings of this research, physical activity was significantly associated with lower signs of burnout in several studies (Weight et al., 2013;Cecil et al., 2014;Lindwall et al., 2014;Olson et al., 2014;Fares et al., 2015;Farias et al., 2019). To explain such relationships, psychological mechanisms were reported as a way to reduce chronic stress and, consequently, signs of burnout (Sonnentag, 2012), either through increased self-efficacy (Joseph et al., 2014), through increases in sense of competence to deal with tasks (Feuerhahn et al., 2014) or make them less demanding (Hockey, 2013). ...
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Risk behaviors and signs of burnout are associated with substantial health losses and university dropouts. Physical activity can be an effective approach to reduce these factors. The objective of this study was to analyze aspects related to health behaviors, physical activity, and signs of burnout in university students and their association with physical activity. The probabilistic cluster sample consisted of 3,578 regularly enrolled undergraduate students from UFPR in Curitiba, based on a population sample of 24,032 university students. The students completed the MBI-SS and NCHA II instruments . Descriptive statistics were used to identify demographic indicators and characteristics of the university environment. For the proportion of subjects with respective confidence intervals ( CI = 95%), contingency tables involving the chi-square test (χ ² ) were used. The prevalence of signs of burnout was estimated in punctual proportions accompanied by the respective confidence intervals ( CI = 95%). To analyze the associations between the independent variables and signs of burnout , the Hierarchical Logistic Regression was used through an analysis adjusted by the other independent variables involved in the models ( CI = 95%). Results showed that the prevalence of individuals who showed signs of burnout was 40.4%. The hierarchical multiple regression model pointed to: female sex (OR = 1.30; 1.11–1.51); age between 20–24 years (OR = 1.51; 1.25–1.83); and 25–29 years (OR = 1.69; 1.27–2.24); being single (OR = 2.67; 1.01–7.10); presenting regular/poor health perception (OR = 1.59; 1.13–2.22), belonging to Human Sciences courses (OR = 1.37; 1.14–1.64); attending 2nd or 3rd year (OR = 1.34; 1.12–1.61); poor academic performance (OR = 5.35; 4.11–6.96); mean (OR = 2.08; 1.78–2.43). We conclude that academics showed a high prevalence of health risk behaviors and correlate and diagnose emotional problems and signs of burnout . Signs of burnout were significantly associated with the practice of physical activity in its three dimensions; however, in the adjusted analysis for demographic indicators, the characteristics of the university environment, and health behaviors, physical activity was not significant for the model.
... Thus, for employees to be able to quickly immerse themselves into work tasks, it is critical that they reduce energy and attention being given to nonwork matters. Psychological detachment, which describes a temporary state of mental disengagement from a given role (Etzion et al., 1998;Sonnentag, 2012), may facilitate this transition. Typically, organizational researchers have concerned themselves with employees' detachment from work, and how differences in this factor explain differences in functioning at home (e.g., Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007). ...
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People often drag their feet getting started at work each morning, with a rather unclear sense of the implications on their daily productivity. Drawing on boundary transitions theory as a conceptual lens, we introduce and investigate the concept of the speed of engagement-the quickness with which an employee becomes focused and energized upon beginning work. We explore the productivity implications of this phenomenon, as well as the psychological processes people use to capitalize on a quick transition to work. Two experience sampling field studies-one of which featured a within-person field experiment testing the efficacy of two interventions we designed for use on employees' smartphones-support our theorizing. Our findings highlight the importance of the speed of engagement-over and above the level of engagement-for daily productivity levels. They also reveal that simple proactive steps to psychologically disengage from home or reattach to work increase the speed of engagement and lead to more productive days at work. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Cronbach's alpha of the scale was . 76. ...
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Vacations offer opportunities for recovery from work-related stress. However, little is known about the impact of job stressors on recovery experiences during vacation, such as psychological detachment and relaxation. This study investigated detachment and relaxation to mediate the influence of job stressors prior to vacation on recovery during vacation. A total of 136 employees from various occupations completed a questionnaire on their ability to relax and mentally detach from work during a recent vacation. Participants rated perceived time pressure and social exclusion at work prior to their vacation as well as any psychosomatic health complaints or sleep problems during vacation. The results of bootstrap mediation analysis confirmed the mediating role of recovery experiences. The association between job stressors and sleep problems was fully mediated by detachment and relaxation, whereas the association between social exclusion and psychosomatic complaints was fully mediated by relaxation. Furthermore, relaxation partially mediated the association between time pressure and psychosomatic complaints. Not only should the ability of employees to relax and mentally detach be fostered, but job stressors should be reduced in order to allow employees to reach optimal recovery during vacation.
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