A Diary Study on Work-Related Perseverative Cognition and Employees’ Need for Recovery The Role of Emotional Support from Family and Neuroticism

  •  Annie Foucreault    
  •  Julie Ménard    
  •  Celestine Stevens    


Daily Work-related Perseverative Cognition (WPC) increases employees’ need for recovery by maintaining physical activation of work-related stressors, thus depleting employees’ resources further. The aim of this study was to highlight factors that influence the WPC/need for recovery relationship on a daily basis. It is hypothesized that daily satisfaction with emotional support from family would have both a direct and a moderating effect on the relationship between employees’ daily WPC and need for recovery. Since individuals higher in neuroticism tend to report more distress symptoms and perseverative cognition, it was expected that neuroticism would: (1) have a direct effect on WPC and need for recovery, (2) accentuate the WPC/need for recovery relationship and (3) reduce the buffering effect of emotional support from family on need for recovery. A sample of 31 employees completed diaries for five consecutive days before sleep (122 data points). Results from hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed that daily family support had no direct effect on daily need for recovery. However, daily family support buffered the WPC/need for recovery relationship but only among individuals low in neuroticism. For those high in neuroticism, daily family support was not associated with a reduction of daily need for recovery from work after resources had been depleted due to WPC. These findings suggest that individual characteristics (neuroticism) should be considered in order to interpret the effect of key resources (family support) on recovery. The discussion highlights how organizations can foster family support and offer alternative strategies for those higher in neuroticism.

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