Recovery Experiences for Work and Health Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis and Recovery-Engagement-Exhaustion Model

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Journal of Business and Psychology




Recovery experiences (i.e., psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery, and control; Sonnentag and Fritz (Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12, 204–221, 2007)) are thought to enhance both work and health outcomes, though the mechanisms are not well understood. We propose and test an integrated theoretical model in which work engagement and exhaustion fully mediate the effects of recovery experiences on job performance and health complaints, respectively. Meta-analytic associations (k = 316; independent samples; N = 99,329 participants) show that relaxation and mastery experiences positively predict job outcomes (work engagement, job performance, citizenship behavior, creativity, job satisfaction) and personal outcomes (positive affect, life satisfaction, well-being), whereas psychological detachment reduces negative personal outcomes (negative affect, exhaustion, work-family conflict), but does not seem to benefit job outcomes (work engagement, job performance, citizenship behavior, creativity). Control experiences exhibit negligible incremental effects. Path analysis largely supports the theoretical model specifying separate pathways by which recovery experiences predict job and health outcomes. Methodologically, diary and post-respite studies tend to exhibit smaller effects than do cross-sectional studies. Finally, within-person correlations of recovery experiences with outcomes tend to be in the same direction, but smaller than corresponding between-person correlations. Implications for recovery experiences theory and research are discussed.


Exhaustion, Recovery, Work engagement