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Job strain and rumination about work issues during leisure time: A diary study

Cropley, M and Millward Purvis, L (2003) Job strain and rumination about work issues during leisure time: A diary study European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 12 (3). pp. 195-207.

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Previous research has suggested that high job strain (high demand, low control at work) is associated with an inability to “unwind” physiologically after work. It was speculated that one mechanism related to the “unwinding process” is an individual's ability to “cognitively switch-off” about work related issues after work. This hypothesis was tested in a diary study of primary and secondary school teachers who were asked to keep an hourly record of their work-related thoughts over a workday evening between 17.00 hrs and 21.00 hrs. As expected both groups demonstrated a degree of unwinding and disengagement from work issues over the evening. High strain (n = 34) teachers however took longer to unwind and ruminated more about work-related issues, relative to low job strain (n = 35) teachers. High job strain teachers also reported they had less personal control over what they were doing in the evening. Across the evening all individuals reported higher ruminative thoughts about work issues when alone than when with family and friends, but high strain teachers reported more ruminative cognitions when watching television and with family and friends than low strain teachers. The results could not be explained by work patterns as there was no difference in the number of hours worked in the evening between the two groups. It is argued that one reason why high job strain teachers failed to successfully unwind after work is that they ruminated more about work issues, than did low job strain teachers.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Cropley, M
Millward Purvis, L
Date : 2003
DOI : 10.1080/13594320344000093
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 2003, available online:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 18 Jul 2014 10:21
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 15:05

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