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Passion for Work and Emotional Exhaustion: The Mediating Role of Rumination and Recovery


Address for correspondence: Eric G. Donahue, Laboratoire de recherche sur le comportement social, Département de psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, P.O. Box 8888, Succ. Downtown, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3P8. Email: or


The purpose of the present research is to present a model pertaining to the mediating roles of rumination and recovery experiences in the relationship between a harmonious and an obsessive passion (Vallerand et al., 2003) for work and workers' emotional exhaustion. Two populations were measured in the present research: namely elite coaches and nurses. Study 1's model posits that obsessive passion positively predicts rumination about one's work when being physically away from work, while harmonious passion negatively predicts ruminative thoughts. In turn, rumination is expected to positively contribute to emotional exhaustion. The results of Study 1 were replicated in Study 2. In addition, in the model of Study 2, obsessive passion was expected to undermine recovery experiences, while harmonious passion was expected to predict recovery experiences. In turn, recovery experiences were expected to protect workers from emotional exhaustion. Results of both studies provided support for the proposed model. The present findings demonstrate that passion for work may lead to some adaptive and maladaptive psychological processes depending on the type of passion that is prevalent.