Shifting the focus: Antecedents and consequences of work-related rumination among traditionally scheduled and shift workers

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Virginia Tech


Previous research suggests that employees can experience different types of demands at work. Challenge demands are motivating and goal oriented, whereas hindrance demands are excessively difficult and / or goal irrelevant. Similarly, previous research indicates that employees may think about work in different ways. Affective rumination involves unproductive, emotionally negative work-related thoughts, whereas problem-solving pondering involves productive, unemotional work-related thoughts. I assess challenge and hindrance demands as potential antecedents to the facets of work-related rumination and indicators of employee recovery and well-being (exhaustion and vigor) in both within- and between-person analyses. I additionally consider the role of work schedule and assess my hypothesized model on a sample including both traditionally scheduled and shift workers. My final sample consisted of 92 full-time (80 traditionally scheduled, 12 shift) employees who were sent three surveys per day over a 28-day survey period. Using multilevel structural equation modeling, I found evidence that work-related rumination may operate as a mechanistic pathway linking work demands to recovery indicators. Additionally, evidence from this dissertation suggests that problem-solving pondering may be detrimental to employee recovery at the daily level, but that it may be beneficial to employee recovery at the between-person level. This dissertation contributes to scientific understanding of potential antecedents of the different types of rumination and suggests that hindrance demands, which are almost universally treated as detrimental to employee recovery, may have competing positive and negative relationships with employee recovery.



Rumination, Challenge Demands, Hindrance Demands, Work Schedule