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Keywords:

  • recovery;
  • stress;
  • strain;
  • well-being;
  • work engagement

Summary

This paper reviews empirical evidence on psychological detachment from work during nonwork time. Psychological detachment as a core recovery experience refers to refraining from job-related activities and thoughts during nonwork time; it implies to mentally disengage from one's job while being away from work. Using the stressor-detachment model as an organizing framework, we describe findings from between-person and within-person studies, relying on cross-sectional, longitudinal, and daily-diary designs. Overall, research shows that job stressors, particularly workload, predict low levels of psychological detachment. A lack of detachment in turn predicts high strain levels and poor individual well-being (e.g., burnout and lower life satisfaction). Psychological detachment seems to be both a mediator and a moderator in the relationship between job stressors on the one hand and strain and poor well-being on the other hand. We propose possible extensions of the stressor-detachment model by suggesting moderator variables grounded in the transactional stress model. We further discuss avenues for future research and offer practical implications. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.