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A Meta-Analysis on Antecedents and Outcomes of Detachment from Work

Detachment from work has been proposed as an important non-work experience helping employees to recover from work demands. This meta-analysis (86 publications, k = 91 independent study samples, N = 38,124 employees) examined core antecedents and outcomes of detachment in employee samples. With regard to outcomes, results indicated average positive correlations between detachment and self-reported mental (i.e., less exhaustion, higher life satisfaction, more well-being, better sleep) and physical (i.e., lower physical discomfort) health, state well-being (i.e., less fatigue, higher positive affect, more intensive state of recovery), and task performance (small to medium sized effects). However, average relationships between detachment and physiological stress indicators and work motivation were not significant while associations with contextual performance and creativity were significant, but negative. Concerning work characteristics, as expected, job demands were negatively related and job resources were positively related to detachment (small sized effects). Further, analyses revealed that person characteristics such as negative affectivity/neuroticism (small sized effect) and heavy work investment (medium sized effect) were negatively related to detachment whereas detachment and demographic variables (i.e., age and gender) were not related. Moreover, we found a medium sized average negative relationship between engagement in work-related activities during non-work time and detachment. For most of the examined relationships heterogeneity of effect sizes was moderate to high. We identified study design, samples' gender distribution, and affective valence of work-related thoughts as moderators for some of these aforementioned relationships. The results of this meta-analysis point to detachment as a non-work (recovery) experience that is influenced by work-related and personal characteristics which in turn is relevant for a range of employee outcomes.

This article is published in the Journal "Frontiers in Psychology" (2017).

Bibliographic information

J. Wendsche, A. Lohmann-Haislah:
A Meta-Analysis on Antecedents and Outcomes of Detachment from Work. 
in: Frontiers in Psychology 2017. pages 24, Project number: F 2353, DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02072

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Research Project

Project numberF 2353 StatusCompleted Project Mental health in the working world - determining the current state of scientific evidence

Find out more : Mental health in the working world - determining the current state of scientific evidence …