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El objetivo de la presente investigación fue proporcionar una visión integradora de las relaciones entre el bienestar diario emocional de los empleados (afecto positivo y negativo) y la interacción entre la familia y el trabajo, el agotamiento relacionado con el trabajo, el distanciamiento y el significado de la vida. Trabajadores del sector de servicios en España (N = 105) completaron un cuestionario general y cuestionarios diarias durante cinco días laborables. Los resultados mostraron que el conflicto familia-trabajo, el agotamiento relacionado con el trabajo y la búsqueda de sentido en la vida predecía a nivel diario el afecto negativo de los empleados por la noche. Por el contrario, el distanciamiento y la presencia de significado en la vida tenían una relación negativa con el afecto negativo por la noche. Por otra parte, la facilitación familia-trabajo, el distanciamiento y la presencia de sentido de la vida predecían el afecto positivo por la noche. Además, el distanciamiento moderaba la relación entre el conflicto familia-trabajo y el afecto negativo y entre la presencia de sentido de la vida y afecto positivo. Estos resultados tienen implicaciones prácticas para los individuos y las organizaciones y sugieren posibles vías de investigación futura.
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Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 169-177
1576-5962/$ - see front matter © 2013 Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid. Todos los derechos reservados
Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
www.elsevier.es/rpto
Revista de Psicología del
Trabajo y de las Organizaciones
Vol. 29, No. 3, December 2013
ISSN: 1576-5962
Editor
Jesús F. Salgado
Associate Editors
Francisco J. Medina
Silvia Moscoso
Ramón Rico
Carmen Tabernero
Journal of Work and
Organizational Psychology
Special Issue:
Happiness and Well-Being at Work
Guest Editors:
Alfredo Rodríguez-Muñoz and Ana I. Sanz-Vergel
The relationships between family-work interaction, job-related exhaustion,
detachment, and meaning in life: A day-level study of emotional well-being
Eva Garrosa-Hernández
a
*, Isabel Carmona-Cobo
a
, Felix Ladstätter
b
, Luis Manuel Blanco
a
, and Helena D.
Cooper-Thomas
c
a
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
b
IE University, Spain
c
University of Auckland, New Zealand
ABSTRACT
The aim of this research was to provide an integrative overview of the associations between employees’
daily emotional well-being (positive and negative affect) and family-work interaction, job-related
exhaustion, detachment, and meaning in life. Service sector employees in Spain (N = 105) filled out a
general measure and daily survey measures over five working days. Results showed that daily family-work
conflict, job-related exhaustion and search for meaning in life predicted employees’ negative affect at
night; conversely, daily detachment and presence of meaning in life had a negative relation with negative
affect at night. In contrast, employees’ family-work facilitation, detachment, and presence of meaning in
life predicted positive affect at night. Moreover, detachment moderated the relationship between family-
work conflict and negative affect, and between the presence of meaning in life and positive affect. These
findings have practical implications for individuals and organizations and suggest possible avenues for
future research.
© 2013 Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid. All rights reserved.
La relación entre interacción familia-trabajo, agotamiento relacionado con el
trabajo, distanciamiento y significado de la vida: estudio del bienestar emocional
a nivel diario
RESUMEN
El objetivo de la presente investigación fue proporcionar una visión integradora de las relaciones entre el
bienestar diario emocional de los empleados (afecto positivo y negativo) y la interacción entre la familia y
el trabajo, el agotamiento relacionado con el trabajo, el distanciamiento y el significado de la vida. Trabaja-
dores del sector de servicios en España (N = 105) completaron un cuestionario general y cuestionarios dia-
rias durante cinco días laborables. Los resultados mostraron que el conflicto familia-trabajo, el agotamiento
relacionado con el trabajo y la búsqueda de sentido en la vida predecía a nivel diario el afecto negativo de
los empleados por la noche. Por el contrario, el distanciamiento y la presencia de significado en la vida te-
nían una relación negativa con el afecto negativo por la noche. Por otra parte, la facilitación familia-trabajo,
el distanciamiento y la presencia de sentido de la vida predecían el afecto positivo por la noche. Además, el
distanciamiento moderaba la relación entre el conflicto familia-trabajo y el afecto negativo y entre la pre-
sencia de sentido de la vida y afecto positivo. Estos resultados tienen implicaciones prácticas para los indi-
viduos y las organizaciones y sugieren posibles vías de investigación futura.
© 2013 Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid. Todos los derechos reservados.
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Eva Garrosa
Hernández. Dept. de Psicología Biológica y de la Salud. Facultad de Psicología
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Ciudad Universitaria de Cantoblanco. C/Ivan P.
Pavlov, 6. 28049 Madrid (Spain). E-mail: eva.garrosa@uam.es
Keywords:
Daily
Detachment
Family-work interaction
Job-related exhaustion
Meaning in life
Well-being
Palabras clave:
Diario
Distanciamiento
Interacción familia-trabajo
Agotamiento relacionado con el trabajo
Significado de la vida
Bienestar
ARTICLE INFORMATION
Manuscript received: 01/06/2013
Revision received: 18/09/2013
Accepted: 26/09/2013
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5093/tr2013a23
Document downloaded from http://http://jwop.elsevier.es, day 28/01/2014. This copy is for personal use. Any transmission of this document by any media or format is strictly prohibited.
170 E. Garrosa-Hernández et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 169-177
It is important to identify mechanisms which can help employees
to mentally switch off from work stress, and contribute to recovery
and well-being (Bakker, Rodríguez-Muñoz, & Derks, 2012; Demer-
outi, Bouwman, & Sanz-Vergel, 2011; Moreno-Jiménez, Garrosa,
Corso, Boada, Rodríguez-Carvajal, 2012; Sonnentag, Unger, & Nägel,
2013). Rather than one specific activity, it is likely that common, un-
derlying attributes, which are related to the employee’s personality
and overall well-being, are generated through ongoing recovery ex-
periences. In fact, people may differ with regard to the specific ac-
tivities they experience as recovery. Among such experiences, psy-
chological detachment has awakened much interest, revealing its
effects on employee health and well-being (Hahn & Dormann, 2013;
Moreno-Jiménez, Mayo et al., 2009; Sonnentag, 2012). Attention is
also being paid to theoretical models introducing meaning in life in
the organizational setting as a personal resource. Researchers focus
on clarifying and identifying the social and sociocognitive factors
that emerge during this process, which are also related to employee
well-being and recovery experiences (Steger & Dik, 2010). From this
perspective, and based on Positive Occupational Health Psychology
(POHP) (Bakker et al., 2012), the objective of this study was to ex-
plore employees´ daily emotional well-being and its association with
family-work interaction, job-related exhaustion (JRE), detachment,
and meaning in life, by means of an integrative overview including
both positive and negative spirals.
The present study contributes to the literature on family-work
interaction, JRE, detachment, and meaning in life in several ways.
First, we present an integrative model of well-being by merging the
literature on positive and negative variables such as family-work in-
teraction, recovery, and meaning in life. In addition, we included de-
tachment, and its possible role as moderator, in order to more fully
understand how these processes unfold for employees. This allows
for the simultaneous study of how these variables contribute to dai-
ly well-being, as well as their possible interaction effects with mean-
ing in life. Second, we examined meaning in life as a personal re-
source that protects and promotes growth and personal well-being
(Steger, Kashdan, & Oishi, 2008; Lent, 2004). Researchers have
pointed out the importance of this variable for well-being, daily de-
cision making, and taking action (Maddi, 1970; Steger & Kashdan,
2013), or that of self-transcendence (Seligman, 2002) on the creation
of meaning. From this point of view, people must engage in a vari-
ety of compensatory strategies to maintain stable levels of meaning
(Hicks, Schlegel, & King, 2010). These compensatory efforts are con-
sistent with the theory that meaning in life is a stable resource used
to maintain well-being and stave off despair (Frankl, 1963). However,
the current study of meaning in life requires further investigation
regarding its stability or instability. According to Steger and Kashdan
(2013), meaning in life from a daily perspective has not yet received
sufficient attention, despite the relevancy of its possible influence on
fluctuations in well being, as well as the consequences of its instabil-
ity on negative emotions. Third, we studied fluctuations in emotion-
al well-being by analyzing positive and negative affect (PA and NA,
respectively) at day-level. The advantage of daily survey methods is
that they allow the analysis of on-the-job activities as they occur,
within specific time frames and in the natural context in which they
occur (Fisher & To, 2012; Ohly, Sonnentag, Niessen, & Zapf, 2010;
Sonnentag, Binnewies, & Ohly, 2013). Finally, we explored the exist-
ence of positive and negative spirals between the variables, in order
to add an integrative stress-well-being overview to the study and we
observed the dynamic within-subject processes involving affect at
night from the perspective of previous studies (Sanz-Vergel, Demer-
outi, Moreno-Jiménez, & Mayo, 2010).
Theoretical framework and hypotheses
Hobfoll’s (1989) conservation of resources theory (COR) provided
a useful framework for the present study. This theory proposes that
stress takes place when a person is threatened with resource loss, or
fails to gain resources after expending effort. In the context of the
family-work interaction, COR theory has been applied with the as-
sumption that people lose resources when attending to family and
work responsibilities (Grandey & Cropanzano, 1999). From this point
of view, detachment and meaning in life could be considered as ways
to restore exhausted resources or to gain new resources. More spe-
cifically, meaning of life helps with committing to daily activities and
problem solving, and can provide a new, positive health perspective
from which to determine the mechanisms that make people feel bet-
ter at work and protect them from psychosocial risks. For example,
detachment restores the energy resources available prior to the
stress and meaning of life can help the person to gain new ways of
approaching a stressful situation and committing to a certain course
of action (Sonnentag, Unger et al., 2013; Steger et al., 2008). Based on
the argument that detachment has a positive impact on intra-indi-
vidual well-being processes (Sonnentag, 2012) and that meaning in
life is an indicator of well-being (Steger, Shin, Shim, & Fitch-Martin,
in press), we proposed daily detachment and meaning in life as pos-
itive variables that promote positive affect while protecting employ-
ees from the negative effects of family-work conflict and JRE on emo-
tional well-being. In accordance with previous literature, we used a
daily diary methodology for this study for two reasons (Fisher & To,
2012; Sonnentag, Binnewies et al., 2013). First, to reduce the bias and
error that are inherent in global retrospective reporting of transient
experiences. Second, in order to study within-subject processes as
they unfold over time.
Family-work interaction, job-related exhaustion and well-being
Since authors first defined the term ¨work-family conflict,¨most
empirical evidence has revealed numerous negative effects of such
conflict on employee well-being (i.e., JRE and emotional cost) both in
the work and family domain (Amstad, Meier, Fasel, Elfering, & Sem-
mer, 2011; Ford, Heinen, & Langkamer, 2007; Sanz-Vergel, Demer-
outi, Mayo, & Moreno-Jiménez, 2011). For example, women report
more sleeping problems than men, even when performing the same
job. In addition, employees report differences in the distribution of
family responsibilities and work obligations (Maume, Sebastian, &
Bardo, 2009). Moreover, women’s difficulties in balancing this rela-
tionship have an impact on workplace absenteeism (Demerouti et
al., 2011). Additionally, the growing need to find a balanced model of
family to work dynamics has become a central issue that has been
poorly explored (Sanz-Vergel, Demerouti, Mayo et al., 2011). Hence,
we look at two aspects of family-work interaction: Family-Work fa-
cilitation (FWF), which refers to the positive interaction between
family and work, and Family-Work Conflict (FWC), which refers to
the negative interaction. In the case of JRE, which implies excessive
work leading to employees feeling exhausted, it is positively related
to FWC (Kinnunen, Feldt, Geurts, & Pulkkinen, 2006; Noor, 2003).
Building on these earlier studies, this investigation examines posi-
tive and negative reactions from the family domain that are trans-
ferred to the work domain, an effect known as spillover (Noor, 2003).
Focusing exclusively on the negative aspects of family and work
dynamics limits the possibility of adopting a comprehensive view of
its study. Many researchers increasingly focus on the positive aspects
of the “work-family interface”, leading to the emergence of new ap-
proaches such as positive spillover (Hanson, Hammer, & Colton,
2006), work-family facilitation (Frone, 2003) and work-family en-
richment (Nicklin & McNall, 2013). Following this approach, in addi-
tion to FWC, the present study includes the positive family-work
interaction as a precursor of employee emotional well-being. The
following hypotheses were elaborated:
Hypothesis 1. Day-level FWF after work will be (a) negatively re-
lated to NA at night and (b) positively related to PA at night.
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E. Garrosa-Hernández et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 169-177 171
Hypothesis 2. Day-level FWC after work will be (a) positively re-
lated to NA at night and (b) negatively related to PA at night.
Hypothesis 3. Day-level JRE after work will be (a) positively related
to NA at night and (b) negatively related to PA at night.
Detachment
Psychological detachment from work is an “individual’s sense of
being away from the work situation” (Etzion, Eden, & Lapidot, 1998,
p. 579). This recovery experience implies leaving work behind during
leisure time. It is experienced as mentally switching off in everyday
life (Sonnentag & Bayer, 2005). Detachment takes place when people
achieve mental disengagement during their time outside of work
(Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007). People who feel mentally disengaged will
experience higher levels of vigor at the end of the day (Sanz-Vergel,
Demerouti et al., 2010), greater well-being (Sonnentag, Unger et al.,
2013), and more energy in their daily performance at work (Binnew-
ies, Sonnentag, & Mojza, 2009).
The emergence of recent empirical research shows that detach-
ment is an important way for employees to recover from job stress
and it restores their energy for the next work day (Sanz-Vergel, De-
merouti, Bakker, & Moreno-Jiménez, 2011; Sonnentag, Binnewies, &
Mojza, 2008). The key process is the underlying psychological expe-
rience of disengaging, not the specific activity itself. This detachment
process can occur when job demands do not exceed an individual’s
resources (Meijman & Mulder, 1998) and when either spent resourc-
es are replenished or new resources are built up (Hobfoll, 1989).
Growing empirical research on the “switching off” issue include
daily diary (Sanz-Vergel, Demerouti, Bakker et al., 2011; Sonnentag,
Unger et al., 2013), cross-sectional (e.g, Fritz, Yankelevich, Zarubin, &
Barger, 2010), and longitudinal studies (e.g., Sonnentag, Binnewies, &
Mojza, 2010). Such research has shown important direct effects of
detachment on well-being. However, the relevance of detachment
exceeds these effects as it is shown to play a role in recovery by mod-
erating daily fluctuations as well as the spillover effect from work to
home (Sonnentag & Binnewies, 2013). For example, Hahn and Dor-
mann (2013) examined the role of partners and children in employ-
ees’ psychological detachment during their leisure time. Their results
showed that employees’ and their partners’ work-home segmenta-
tion preferences were related to employees’ psychological detach-
ment. Also, employees’ and their partners’ psychological detachment
were positively related (Hahn & Dormann, 2013). Based on these ef-
fects, we proposed detachment as a protective variable promoting
employee emotional well-being:
Hypothesis 4. Day-level detachment at night will be (a) negatively
related to NA at night, and (b) positively related to PA at night.
Hypothesis 5. Day-level detachment at night will moderate the re-
lation between the predictor variables (i.e., FWF, FWC, JRE, pres-
ence and search of meaning in life) and the daily emotional well-
being, (a) NA at night and (b) PA at night.
Meaning in life
Meaning in life is an important indicator of health and well-being
(Krause & Hayward, 2013; Steger, Sheline, Merriman, & Kashdan, in
press; Wong, 2012), and includes all spheres of life: Biological, psy-
chological, social, and spiritual. Therefore, any approach to the study
of meaning in life must be holistic. Although finding meaning in life
requires investing effort, this process helps the person to understand
and encounter meaning in their actions, thereby increasing feelings
of self confidence and control (Wong, 2012). The literature assumes
that judgments of meaning in life are a stable resource, a finding
supported by the subjective judgments of meaningfulness in life
rather than people’s qualitative experience. There are insufficient
empirical studies on the instability of meaning in life judgments over
short-time periods, such as day-to-day reports (Steger & Kashdan,
2013). In this sense, studies have shown that daily meaning in life is
positively related to daily well-being (King, Hicks, Krull, & Del Gaiso,
2006; Steger & Frazier, 2005; Steger, Frazier, Oishi, & Kaler, 2006), but
that in order to better understand well-being, it is important to fur-
ther explore the instability in meaning of life (Steger & Kashdan,
2013) . From this point of view, the present study takes an intraper-
sonal approach that helps to explore the daily changes undergone
over one week and at different times during the day to test for the
influence of daily meaning on daily well-being (Kashdan, Steger, &
Breen, 2007; Steger & Kashdan, 2013; Steger, Shin et al., in press).
Experts argue that people attempt to construct meaning in their
life, defend it from threats, and repair it followingany harm they suf-
fer (e.g., Steger, 2009, 2012; Steger & Frazier, 2005; Steger et al.,
2006). Since Viktor Frankl (1963) began this line of research, mean-
ing in life has been extensively studied and considered an essential
ingredient of human well-being (Kobau, Sniezek, Zack, Lucas, &
Burns, 2010; Ryff & Singer, 1998). Different models and theories have
attempted to explain what meaning in life is. Some propose that it is
“making sense of life” (Battista & Almond, 1973), and that it even has
an affective quality (Reker & Wong, 1988). Others state that it is,
above all, goal-directed behavior (Klinger, 1977; Ryff & Singer, 1998);
that it is related to the transcendental and spiritual facets of a per-
son’s life (Emmons, 2003; Mascaro, Rosen, & Morey, 2004); or that
meaning comes from a sense of self-esteem, efficacy, self-justifica-
tion, and purpose (Baumeister, 1991). Despite the variety of concep-
tual differences, experts agree on the relationship between meaning
in life and eudaimonic well-being, focused on strengthening one´s
capabilities and assets in order to explain personal growth. In this
sense, people who feel that their lives are full of meaning are more
optimistic (Kelly, 2002), have higher levels of self-esteem (Steger et
al., 2006) and positive emotions (King et al., 2006). Therefore, the
PML may increase daily well-being by restoring those resources that
have been lost due to stress, by generating new personal resources
that give meaning one´s behavior and increase a sense of commit-
ment to a course of action and problem solving, as well as by increas-
ing levels of self-confidence (Steger et al., 2006). The interest awak-
ened by this phenomenon has led to controversy even in the very use
of certain concepts. The terms “meaning” and “purpose” have been
used interchangeably. However, some authors consider “meaning” as
a higher-order term referring to the capacity to give meaning to and
understand one’s own life, including one’s self-view, one’s view of
the external world, and the way one adapts to oneself and to the
world (Steger, 2009, 2012). “Purpose” is more general, and refers to
one or more long-term life aspirations that are self-concordant and
that motivate one towards the activity that helps to achieve such as-
pirations (Steger, Sheline et al., in press). In this work, we introduce
the presence of and the search for meaning in life (PML and SML,
respectively) to determine its effect on employee emotional well-
being; that is, its application in the work context. Our interest was
focused on the effect of meaning in life not only as a promoter of PA,
but also to determine its protective role from NA at night. Specifi-
cally, the following hypotheses were proposed:
Hypothesis 6. Day-level PML at night will be (a) negatively related
NA at night and (b) positively related to PA at night.
Hypothesis 7. Day-level SML at night will be (a) positively related
to NA at night and (b) negatively related to PA at night.
Method
Participants and overview of procedure
The final group of participants was composed of 105 employees
from various service sector organizations in Madrid (Spain) who took
part in the multilevel study (60% female and 39% male). Mean age was
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172 E. Garrosa-Hernández et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 169-177
35.01 years (SD = 0.49). About one half of participants were married or
living with a partner (48.1%), whereas the other half were single
(47.1%). Most of them did not have children (66.3%), and the majority
(55%) had a university degree. Most of them had a permanent contract
(58.4%) and worked on average 40.30 hours per week (SD = 8.08).
Participants were recruited through different meetings with di-
verse associations from the service sector, during which we explained
the project and its objectives. Employees who agreed to participate
received paper copies of each survey as well as clear instructions and
information to ensure the anonymity and confidentiality of their re-
sponses. They filled in the general questionnaire (person-level) and
afterwards, they completed daily questionnaires (day-level) three
times a day – in the morning, before going to work, in the afternoon
after work, and at night before going to bed – resulting in 1,575 eval-
uations for five consecutive working days (Monday-Friday). Partici-
pants received personal instructions to complete the daily question-
naire at these three times, and the researchers underlined the
importance of following this procedure and also programmed cell-
phone alarms to prompt reports and collect responses.
Measures
Participants rated the same variables in the general and daily
questionnaires. These variables were assessed using similar meas-
ures for both general and daily moments, but they included the ap-
propriate instructions for the time of day. In summary, employees
rated the variables family-work interaction, JRE, detachment, mean-
ing in life, and affect on 6-point Likert-type scales ranging from 1
(not at all true) to 6 (absolutely true). According to the daily instruc-
tions, participants completed (1) PA and NA in the morning; (2)
family-work interaction and JRE in the afternoon after work; and (3)
detachment, meaning in life, and PA and NA at night. Alpha coeffi-
cients for all measures are shown in Table 1.
Affect. We used the short-version (Thompson, 2007) of the Positive
and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). It in-
cludes five items each for both PA (i.e., interested) and NA (i.e., irritable).
Family-Work Interaction. We assessed FWF and FWC variables us-
ing two subscales from the Work-Home Interaction Survey-Nijmeg-
en (Geurts et al., 2005) adapted to Spanish by Moreno-Jiménez,
Sanz-Vergel, Rodríguez-Muñoz, and Geurts (2009). We selected
three items for each subscale that matched our employees’ charac-
teristics (e.g., “I took my responsibilities at work more seriously be-
cause I was required to do the same at home” or “I had difficulties
concentrating on my work because I was worried about domestic
matters”). They responded by indicating which situations described
in each of the 6 items they had experienced at work.
Job-Related Exhaustion (JRE). We used six items from Wharton’s
(1993) scale. The items addressed the extent to which the job made
the participants feel, for example, “emotionally drained,” “used up,”
and “burnt out”.
Detachment. This recovery experience was evaluated using the
Spanish version of the Detachment subscale (Sanz-Vergel, Sebastián et
al., 2010) from the Recovery Experience Questionnaire (Sonnentag &
Fritz, 2007). Participants filled in the four items to show the frequency
with which they had felt this experience. Two item examples are “I
distance myself from my work” and “I don’t think about work at all”.
Meaning in life. We used The Meaning in Life Questionnaire (Ste-
ger et al., 2006). The five PML items evaluate the extent to which
people perceive their lives as meaningful (e.g., “I understand my life’s
purpose”). The five-item SML subscale measures the extent to which
participants are actively seeking meaning in their lives (e.g., “I am
looking for something that makes my life feel meaningful”).
Control variables. Gender, work shift, general affect, and affect in
the morning were measured. We included these additional variables
at both general and day-level to increase control of the variables un-
der study and to avoid spurious relationships between these varia-
bles (Sanz-Vergel, Demerouti et al., 2010; Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007).
Data Analysis
We analyzed the data using the hierarchical linear modeling ap-
proach (Bryk & Raudenbush, 1992; Snijders & Bosker, 1999) and ML-
wiN software. We centered all day-level predictor and control vari-
ables (Level 1, day-level) at the respective person mean, and the
person-level control variables (Level 2) at the grand mean. Centering
day-level variables at the person mean implies that all between-
subject variance in these variables is removed, so that interpreta-
tions of outcomes referring to stable differences between people can
be ruled out.
Results
Table 1 shows the means, standard deviations, Cronbach alphas,
and correlations among all the study variables. Day-level variables
Table 1
Means, standard deviations, alpha reliabilities, and intercorrelations
Variables M SD α 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1. Gender
a
1.61 0.49 - 1
2. Shift
a
5.65 7.92 - -.04 1
3. PA
a
3.82 0.53 .80 .16
**
-.06 1
4. NA
a
2.16 0.63 .76 .01 .07 -.20
**
1
5. PA in the morning
b
3.17 1.03 .89 .03 .07 .33
**
-.27
**
1
6. NA in the morning
b
1.50 0.68 .79 .05 -.02 -.07 .43
**
-.22
**
1
7. FWC after work
b
1.63 1.08 .92 .03 .02 -.06 .34
**
-.16
**
.39
**
1
8. FWF after work
b
4.08 1.31 .72 .07 .05 .33
**
-.12
**
.34
**
-.21
**
-.07 1
9. JRE after work
b
2.04 1.63 .90 .13
**
-.14
**
-.16
**
.24
**
-.13
**
.39
**
.41
**
-.25
**
1
10. Detachment at night
b
3.60 1.07 .86 .04 -.05 .07 -.09
*
-.02 -.10
*
-.17
**
.11
**
-.47
**
1
11. PML at night
b
4.38 1.18 .66 .14
**
.18
**
.33
**
-.17
**
.32
**
-.16
**
-.16
**
.49
**
-.35
**
.23
**
1
12. SML at night
b
2.98 1.81 .96 .10
*
-.10
*
.03 .17
**
-.01 .31
**
.24
**
.03 .20
**
-.03 -.06 1
13. PA at night
b
2.45 1.11 .79 -.21
**
.09
*
.22
**
-.09 .36
**
-.05 -.05 .41
**
-.24
**
.15
**
.42
**
.08 1
14. NA at night
b
1.44 0.69 .81 .05 -.05 -.11
*
.40
**
-.08 .52
**
.45
**
-.22
**
.45
**
-.25
**
-.28
**
.27
**
-.04 1
Note.
a
Person-level variables,
b
Day-level variables
*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
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E. Garrosa-Hernández et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 169-177 173
across the 5 days were averaged to assess the correlations between
them and those measured at the person-level.
Preliminary Analyses
Prior to testing the hypotheses, we examined the variability of the
day-level measures over time. Results showed that 45.6 % of NA var-
iance and 43.7% of PA variance can be attributed to within-subject
variation, similar to previous research (Sonnentag et al., 2008). All
predictor variables showed an intra-class correlation coefficient
above 25% (Hox & Robers, 2011), except PML (24%) and SML (13%).
Overall, these findings suggest that an important portion of the vari-
ance in emotional well-being at night can be attributed to within-
subject fluctuations across the 5 days, supporting the usage of mul-
tilevel analysis (Fisher & To, 2012; Ohly et al., 2010).
Hypotheses Testing
Data were analyzed at the specific general and daily moments of
the evaluations. Hence, we added five nested hierarchical linear
models for each emotional well-being criterion – PA and NA at night
– as outcome variables. Firstly, we started with a null model which
showed the intercept. In Model 1, we included person-level variables
(gender, work shift, general affect) and day-level variables (PA and
NA in the morning) as control variables. In Model 2, we entered day-
level family-work interaction and JRE, which were assessed after
work, in the afternoon. In Model 3, we added detachment as a recov-
ery experience measured at night. In Model 4, we included meaning
in life measured at night (i.e., PML and SML). Finally, in Model 5, we
included the five interaction terms of the predictor variables and de-
tachment to test the moderator hypotheses. To assess the improve-
ment of each model over the previous one, we examined the differ-
ence between the respective likelihood ratios. Tables 2 and 3 display
model fit information (difference of -2 x log), estimates for the fixed
parameters, and estimates for the variance components.
For PA at night as an outcome variable (see Table 2), Model 1, which
includes person-level and day-level control variables, showed a better
fit than the null model, with general PA and PA in the morning as sig-
nificant predictor variables (t = 2.79, p < .05 and t = 2.25, p < .05, re-
spectively). When we introduced day-level predictor variables into
Model 2, the model fit improved (difference of -2 x log = 9.61, df = 3,
p < .001), with FWF showing a significant positive relation with PA at
night (t = 2.82, p < .01), but the effect of PA in the morning was non-
significant. Model 3, which included detachment, produced a better
model fit. High detachment predicted PA at night (t = 2.31, p < .05).
Model 4 fit the data better than Model 3, with the positive effect of
PML at night (t = 2.98, p < .01) contributing to an increased model fit
(difference of -2 x log = 9.44, df = 2, p < .001). High PML predicted PA
at night. In this model, the effect of detachment was nonsignificant.
Model 5, which included the five interaction terms of the predictor
variables and detachment to test our moderator Hypothesis, increased
model fit with the interaction effect between PML and detachment (t
= 2.15, p < .05). Figure 1 shows that on days with high detachment after
work, high PML is more positively related to PA at night than on days
with low detachment. In total, all predictor and control variables en-
tered into the models explained 8% of the variance at Level 2
Table 2
Multilevel estimates for models predicting PA at night
Variables Null Model Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5
Estimate SE T Estimate SE t Estimate SE t Estimate SE t Estimate SE t Estimate SE t
Intercept 2.45 0.09 27.88 2.46 0.09 28.86 2.45 0.09 28.86 2.45 0.09 28.86 2.45 0.09 28.86 2.46 0.09 28.91
Gender
a
-0.00 0.01 0 -0.00 0.01 0 -0.00 0.01 0 -0.00 0.01 0 -0.00 0.01 -0.11
Shift
a
-0.00 0.01 -0.4 -0.01 0.01 -0.4 -0.00 0.01 -0.4 -0.00 0.01 -0.4 -0.00 0.01 -0.4
PA
a
0.45 0.16 2.79* 0.45 0.16 2.79** 0.45 0.16 2.79* 0.45 0.16 2.79** 0.46 0.16 2.9*
PA in the morning
b
0.12 0.05 2.25* 0.10 0.05 1.92 0.09 0.05 1.82 0.10 0.05 1.92 0.10 0.05 1.90
NA in the morning
b
0.11 0.08 1.31 0.14 0.08 1.74 0.12 0.08 1.45 0.13 0.08 1.59 0.11 0.08 1.28
FWF after work
b
0.13 0.05 2.82** 0.13 0.05 2.78* 0.12 0.04 2.68** 0.13 0.04 2.84*
FWC after work
b
-0.06 0.05 1.17 -0.06 0.05 -1.11 -0.06 0.05 -1.08 -0.07 0.05 -1.26
JRE after work
b
0.01 0.04 0.32 0.06 0.05 1.17 0.07 0.05 1.51 0.08 0.05 1.66
Detachment at night
b
0.12 0.05 2.31* 0.10 0.05 1.88 0.10 0.05 2.02*
PML at night
b
0.19 0.06 2.98** 0.20 0.06 3.22**
SML at night
b
-0.06 0.05 -1.06 -0.07 0.05 -1.34
FWF X detachment
b
-0.03 0.07 -0.47
FWC X detachment
b
-0.09 0.07 -1.19
JRE X detachment
b
0.07 0.05 1.41
PML X detachment
b
0.22 0.10 2.15*
SML X detachment
b
-0.02 0.09 -0.21
-2 X Log(lh) 1379.87 1366.35 1356.74 1351.31 1341.86 1334.23
Difference of -2 X Log 13.52*** 9.61*** 5.43** 9.44*** 7.63***
Df 53125
Level 1 intercept
variance (SE)
0.54 (0.04) 0.54 (0.04) 0.52 (0.04) 0.52 (0.04) 0.51 (0.04) 0.50 (0.04)
Level 2 intercept
variance (SE)
0.70 (0.11) 0.64 (0.10) 0.65 (0.10) 0.65 (0.10) 0.65 (0.10) 0.64 (0.10)
Note.
a
Person-level variables,
b
Day-level variables
* p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001
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174 E. Garrosa-Hernández et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 169-177
(.70-.64/.70 = .08) and 8% of the variance at Level 1 (.54-.50/.54 = .08).
In this case, both general and day-level variables showed the same
amount of explained variance for Level 1 and Level 2.
In the case of NA as an outcome variable (see Table 3), Model 1
showed a significant improvement over the null model (difference of
-2 x log = 38.49, df = 5, p < .001). General NA was a strong predictor
of NA at night (t = 6.09, p < .001) and of the remaining control vari-
ables, only NA in the morning had a significant effect (t = 2.29, p <
.05). Variables entered in Model 2 increased model fit (difference of
-2 x log = 43.74, df = 3, p < .001). Specifically, FWC and JRE after work
were significant predictors of NA at night (t = 3.70, p < .01 and t =
4.89, p < .01, respectively), and the effect of NA in the morning disap-
peared. In Model 3, detachment at night as a negative predictor con-
tributed to increased model fit (t = -3.45, p < .05). Model 4, which
included PML and SML, showed improved fit over the previous mod-
el. In particular, PML at night was negatively and significantly related
to NA at night (t = -2.24, p < .05). In contrast, SML was positively re-
lated to NA at night (t = 2.28, p < .05). Finally, the variables entered in
Model 5 increased model fit (difference of -2 x log = 8.94, df = 5, p <
.001). Results from Model 5 showed that detachment moderated the
relation between daily FWC after work and NA at night (t = -2.45, p <
.05). To better explore the pattern of the interaction effects, we fol-
lowed the procedure proposed by Aiken and West (1991). Figure 2
shows that on days with low psychological detachment after work,
high FWC is more positively related to NA at night than on days with
high detachment. In sum, all predictor and control variables entered
into the models explained 29% of the variance at Level 2 (.27-.19/.27
= .29) and 17% of the variance at Level 1 (.22-.18/.22 = .17).
Discussion
The objective of this study was to explore employee daily emo-
tional well-being through the relationship between family-work in-
teraction, JRE, detachment, and meaning in life in an integrative
overview. Some diary studies have shown the direct influence of psy-
chosocial factors on employee emotional well-being at the end of the
day (Sanz-Vergel, Demerouti et al., 2010; Sonnentag, Unger et al.,
Figure 1. Interaction effects of PML and detachment in predicting PA at night
Table 3
Multilevel estimates for models predicting NA at night
Variables Null Model Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5
Estimate SE t Estimate SE t Estimate SE t Estimate SE t Estimate SE t Estimate SE t
Intercept 1.44 0.05 26.65 1.44 0.05 31.28 1.44 0.05 31.28 1.44 0.05 31.28 1.44 0.05 31.28 1.43 0.05 30.43
Gender
a
0.00 0.01 0.2 0.00 0.01 0.2 0.00 0.01 0.2 0.00 0.01 0.2 0.00 0.01 0.2
Shift
a
-0.01 0.00 -1.67 -0.01 0.00 -1.67 -0.01 0.00 -1.67 -0.01 0.00 -1.67 -0.01 0.00 -1.67
NA
a
0.45 0.07 6.09*** 0.45 0.07 6.09*** 0.45 0.07 6.09** 0.45 0.07 6.09*** 0.45 0.07 6.03***
PA in the morning
b
0.03 0.03 1 0.05 0.03 1.56 0.06 0.03 1.77 0.05 0.03 1.74 0.06 0.03 1.77
NA in the morning
b
0.12 0.05 2.29* 0.07 0.05 1.31 0.09 0.05 1.78 0.08 0.05 1.6 0.07 0.05 1.42
FWF after work
b
-0.03 0.03 -1.18 -0.03 0.03 -1.15 -0.03 0.03 -1.07 -0.04 0.03 -1.30
FWC after work
b
0.12 0.03 3.70** 0.12 0.03 3.72* 0.12 0.03 3.78** 0.11 0.03 3.56**
JRE after work
b
0.13 0.03 4.89** 0.09 0.03 3.24* 0.09 0.03 2.97** 0.10 0.03 3.38**
Detachment at night
b
-0.11 0.03 -3.45* -0.09 0.03 -3.03** -0.10 0.03 -3.13**
PML at night
b
-0.09 0.04 -2.24* -0.08 0.04 -2.05*
SML at night
b
0.07 0.03 2.28* 0.07 0.03 2.19*
FWF X detachment
b
0.04 0.04 0.93
FWC X detachment
b
-0.11 0.04 -2.45*
JRE X detachment
b
-0.00 0.03 -0.03
PML X detachment
b
0.03 0.06 0.42
SML X detachment
b
-0.09 0.05 -1.71
-2 X Log(lh) 904.81 866.33 822.58 810.63 801.33 792.39
Difference of -2 X Log 38.49*** 43.74*** 11.95** 9.30** 8.94***
Df 5 3 1 2 5
Level 1 intercept
variance (SE)
0.22 (0.02) 0.22 (0.02) 0.20 (0.01) 0.19 (0.01) 0.19 (0.01) 0.18 (0.01)
Level 2 intercept
variance (SE)
0.27 (0.04) 0.18 (0.03) 0.19 (0.03) 0.19 (0.03) 0.19 (0.03) 0.19 (0.03)
Note.
a
Person-level variables
b
Day-level variables
*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
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E. Garrosa-Hernández et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 169-177 175
2013). This study yields similar results and adds the effect of positive
and negative spirals on well-being as well as the significant effect of
detachment and meaning of life on the daily well-being of service
sector employees. On the basis of our working hypotheses, PA at
night was explained by positive variables, such as FWF, detachment,
and PML (Hypotheses 1b, 4b, 5b). The evidence found in this study
shows that daily processes of emotional well-being are associated
with the proposed variables. Specifically, an employee who main-
tains balance between family and work domains will feel PA at the
end of the day. These results are also relevant in the service sector
field where there is a large presence of female employees and are
along the same lines as the enriching effect of FWF, which is still
insufficiently addressed at the daily level (Nicklin & McNall, 2013). If
employees can detach themselves from workday stress and they
have a clear presence of meaning in life, then the dynamics of the
relationship of these positive variables will induce a state of emo-
tional well-being at night, with important consequences for their
psychological well-being (Fredrickson, 2008; Steger, 2012).
The study allowed us to analyze employees’ daily activities as
they occurred during the day and in a more natural setting (Sonnen-
tag, Binnewies et al., 2013). Additionally, knowing how the workday
influences employees’ affect at night is essential for the promotion of
their health and well-being and for the development of preventive
programs within organizations (Bakker et al., 2012). Thus, we can
better understand the noxious effects of FWC, JRE, and SML on em-
ployee emotional well-being at night, contributing to employees
feeling NA at night on a daily basis. Therefore, in light of the results
of our study, our data supports Hypotheses 2a, 3a, and 7a.
There are many examples in the literature of the positive effects
of PML on people’s well-being (Krause & Hayward, 2013; Steger,
2009, 2012; Wong, 2012). Our study provides similar results: PML
had a positive relation with PA at night (Hypothesis 6b). Further-
more, in our study, PML had a negative and significant relation with
NA at night (Hypothesis 6a). These results support the independence
of PML and SML (Steger et al., 2006) and as we expected, PML is a
promoter of PA, but it also alleviates discomfort through its effect on
NA at night. In addition to determining the positive effect of meaning
in life on employee daily well-being, we focused our study on the
benefits of psychological detachment from work and its interaction
effect with the predictor variables. There is a lot of recent evidence
supporting the beneficial effect of detachment on well-being (e.g.,
Demerouti et al., 2011; Hahn & Dormann, 2013; Sonnentag et al.,
2008; Sonnentag, Unger et al., 2013). Our study further contributes
to these findings; the results have revealed direct effects on affect at
night (Hypotheses 4a and 4b), as well as the moderating effect of
detachment on the relationship between FWC and NA at night (Hy-
pothesis 5a). Likewise, PML and PA at night were moderated by de-
tachment (Hypothesis 5b). The study thus indicates that employees
who disengage from work in the afternoon experience an important
process to increase their PA at night when PML is high. In fact, such
detachment protects them from the negative influence of FWC on
their affect at night. Moreover, it seems that detachment helps to
increase the beneficial effect of PML on employee emotional well-
being at night. Furthermore, the significant effects of PML and de-
tachment, both on PA and on NA, permit us to address the positive
consequences these variables may have on hedonic and eudaimonic
well-being (Ryan & Deci, 2001). More specifically, the interaction be-
tween detachment and PML, and its relationship with positive affect
can be understood in terms of the energy levels that are restored as
a result of detachment, which frees up cognitive resources that aid in
creating meaning and decrease the sense of overload, thereby con-
tributing to personal well-being.
However, contrary to our Hypotheses 1a, 2b, 3b, and 7b, FWF
showed a non-significant negative effect on NA at night; FWC showed
a non-significant negative effect on PA at night; JRE showed a non-
significant negative effect on PA at night; and SML showed a non-
significant negative effect on PA at night. These findings appear to
indicate that only the positive predictors (i.e., FWF, detachment, and
PML) help to explain PA at night. These results can help us to under-
stand the independence of PA and NA, which is in line with other
research on employees (Ekkekakis & Russell, 2013), and further un-
derstanding of how positive affect is related to positive emotionality
variables (Larsen & Fredrickson, 1999). Another relevant finding is
the significant effect of detachment and PML, in both PA and NA at
night during the workweek. This contributes to research on potential
resources that can increase daily well-being and protect against neg-
ative emotions by permitting individuals to reinterpret stressful ex-
periences in such a way that stress is reduced and energy is increased
(Sonnentag & Binnewies, 2013; Steger, 2012). Learning to disconnect
and understand or make sense of behavior on a daily basis increases
personal well-being, which may simultaneously contribute to or-
ganizational well-being due to employees carrying out virtuous be-
havior. In short, the present study adds to our knowledge of the proc-
esses behind employee daily well-being. First, it contributes to the
study of the relationships of family-work interaction, JRE, detach-
ment, and meaning in life using an integrative positive and negative
spiral approach. Based on the POHP (Bakker et al., 2012) we included
not only negative, but also positive variables to extend the employee
well-being process. Second, the study captures employees’ daily
fluctuations of emotional well-being by analyzing PA and NA at night
as outcomes variables, both at a general level (between-person vari-
ation) and at day-level (within-person variation) according to multi-
level methodology (Hox & Robers, 2011). This method provides a
new way to explore details of organizational and personal variables
associated with daily emotional well-being, like diary affect at night.
Third, it provides positive evidence that detachment and PML pro-
mote PA at night and protect employees from the negative effects of
the FWC and JRE on NA at night. This positive spiral is also associated
with negative outcomes, diminishing their toxic effect. Fourth, the
positive effects are also relevant in the FWF dynamics, showing that
a balance in this relationship has positive effects on employee daily
emotional well-being. The FWF spillover effect strengthens the con-
temporary research line of family-work interaction as a precursor of
employee emotional well-being. Finally, further supporting the cur-
rent evidence on spillover (Sonnentag & Binnewies, 2013), detach-
ment was also shown to be a moderator, revealing its significant role
in day-to-day emotional well-being and its dynamic relationship
with meaning in life which contributes to daily well-being. Likewise,
although research on meaning in life has often considered it to be a
stable trait, the current perspective on this topic also takes into con-
sideration the need to study its effects on a daily basis (Steger &
Kashdan, 2013), which is something that has also been observed in
the present study.
Figure 2. Interaction effects of FWC and detachment in predicting NA at night
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176 E. Garrosa-Hernández et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 169-177
However, this study has also some limitations. A key issue is that
the need to carefully follow instructions for questionnaire comple-
tion may clash with the participants’ daily rhythm, leading to fatigue
and random responses. In addition, the printed format provided
could be uncomfortable to fill in, especially when taking into account
the strict demands of the assessment during five consecutive days. In
future studies, digital formats could be used and emotions at night
could be assessed, for example, by means of psychophysiological re-
cordings. Considering that previous research has already tested the
positive connection of the stability of meaning in life and well-being
using daily reports (King et al., 2006; Steger & Frazier, 2005; Steger
et al., 2006), we added this variable and despite its lower within-
person variation, all predictor variables taken together explained
enough daily variability (Hox & Robers, 2011). In this sense, it would
be interesting to carry out a daily follow-up measurement after some
time has passed in order to determine longitudinally the status of
the variables studied.
This study provides a detailed view of the indicators of emotional
well-being in the context of occupational health, including the daily
positive effect of FWF, PML, and detachment, which may help in the
promotion of employee well-being and health, as well as in the de-
velopment of preventive programs within organizations. In conclu-
sion, within the work environment the balance between home and
work life and recovery from stress is essential, as well as the explora-
tion of the mechanisms which contribute to the sense of meaning
and daily well-being.
Conflicts of interest
The authors of this article declare no conflicts of interest.
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... Sonnentag and Fritz (2015) consider psychological detachment as a core recovery experience. For example, in Spanish workers, experiences of relaxation have produced important benefits in the intensification of positive emotions (Garrosa et al., 2013). This may occur through the prolonged activation of the functional system, neutralizing the effects of negative affect (Parker et al., 2020;Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007;Xanthopoulou et al., 2014). ...
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