Advertisement

Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 104–113 | Cite as

Engaging and disengaging work conditions, momentary experiences and cortisol response

  • James K. HarterEmail author
  • Arthur A. Stone
Original Paper

Abstract

There is a growing literature suggesting important associations between the perceived work situation, individual health, and organizational outcomes. Less research has investigated employee experiences in the moment, which might help explain why the broader outcomes emerge. We examined momentary affect and cortisol from a within-day and between-day perspective, comparing working time to nonworking time for employees in engaging and disengaging workplaces. Findings indicate significantly lower momentary happiness and interest and higher stress and sadness are associated with work, and, in particular, with disengaging work environments. The connections between momentary affect and cortisol confirmed prior research, but cortisol was higher during non-work weekday moments. Employees with engaging work conditions had lower cortisol during weekday (working) mornings in comparison to employees with disengaging work conditions. There was no difference on Saturdays. These results provide evidence that work, and especially the work situation, is associated with affective and physiological momentary states.

Keywords

Work Affect Physiology Cortisol Weekday-weekend differences 

References

  1. Aboa-Eboule, C., Brisson, C., Maunsell, E., Masse, B., Bourbonnais, R., Vezina, M., et al. (2007). Job strain and risk of acute recurrent coronary heart disease events. Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), 298, 1652–1660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A Global Measure of Perceived Stress. [Article]. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24(4), 385–396.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Hunter, J. (2003). Happiness in everyday life: The uses of experience sampling. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4(2), 185–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & LeFevre, J. (1989). Optimal experience in work and leisure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 815–822.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dickerson, S. S., & Kemeny, M. E. (2004). Acute stressors and cortisol responses: A theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research. [Review]. Psychological Bulletin, 130(3), 355–391.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dressendorfer, R. A., Kirschbaum, C., Rohde, W., Stahl, F., & Strasburger, C. J. (1992). Synthesis of a cortisol-biotin conjugate and evaluation as a tracer in an immunoassay for salivary cortisol measurement. Journal of Steriod Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 43, 683–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Egloff, B., Tausch, A., Kohlmann, C., & Krohne, H. W. (1995). Relationships between time of day, day of week, and positive mood: Exploring the role of the mood measure. Motivation and Emotion, 19, 99–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fries, E., Dettenborn, L., & Kirschbaum, C. (2009). The cortisol awakening response (CAR): Facts and future directions. [Review]. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 72(1), 67–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Harter, J. K. & Arora, R. (2008). Social time crucial to daily emotional well-being in U.S. Gallup.com, June 5, 2008.Google Scholar
  10. Harter, J. K., & Arora, R. (2009). The impact of time spent working and job fit on well-being around the world. In E. Diener, D. Kahneman, & J. Helliwell (Eds.), International differences in well-being (pp. 389–426). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., Asplund, J. A., Killham, E. A., & Agrawal, S. A. (2010). Causal impact of employee work perceptions on the bottom line of organizations. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(4), 378–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002a). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(2), 268–279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Keyes, C. L. (2002b). Well-being in the workplace and its relationship to business outcomes: A review of the gallup studies. In C. L. Keyes & J. Haidt (Eds.), Flourishing: The positive person and the good life (pp. 205–224). Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  14. Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., Killham, E. A., & Agrawal, S. (2009). Q12 meta-analysis: The relationship between engagement at work and organizational outcomes. The Gallup Organization: Omaha, NE.Google Scholar
  15. Judge, T. A., & Illies, R. (2004). Affect and job satisfaction: A study of their relationship at work and at home. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(4), 661–673.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Judge, T. A., Thoresen, C. J., Bono, J. E., & Patton, G. K. (2001). The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3), 376–407.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kivimaki, M., Ferrie, J., Brunner, E., Head, J., Shipley, M., Vahtera, J., et al. (2005). Justice at work and reduced risk of coronary heart disease among employees. Archives of Internal Medicine, 165, 2245–2251.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Krueger, A. B., Kahneman, D., Schkade, D., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2008). National time accounting: The currency of life (Working Papers No. 1061). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section.Google Scholar
  19. Krueger, A., Kahneman, D., Schkade, D., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2009). National time accounting: The currency of life. In A. Krueger (Ed.), National time accounts (pp. 9–86). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  20. Langelaan, S., Bakker, A., Schaufeli, W., van Rhenen, W., & van Doornen, L. (2006). Do burned-out and work-engaged employees differ in the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis? Scandanavian Journal of Work Environment Health, 32(5), 339–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Larsen, R. J., Augustine, A. A., & Prizmic, Z. (2009). A process approach to emotion and personality: Using time as a facet of data. Cognition and Emotion, 23, 1407–1426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Maina, G., Palmas, A., Bovenzi, M., & Filon, F. L. (2009). Salivary cortisol and psychosocial hazards at work. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 52, 251–260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mikolajczak, M., Quoidbach, J., Vanootighem, V., Lambert, F., Lahaye, M., Fillee, C., & de Timary, P. (in press). Cortisol awakening response (CAR)’s flexibility leads to larger and more consistent association with psychological factors than CAR magnitude. Psychoneuroendocrinology.Google Scholar
  24. Nyberg, A., Alfredsson, L., Theorell, T., Westerlund, H., Vahtera, J., & Kivimaki, M. (2009). Managerial leadership and ischaemic heart disease among employees: the Swedish WOLF study. Occupational Environmental Medicine;, 66(1), 51–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Okenfels, M. C., Porter, L., Smyth, J., Kirschbaum, C., Hellhammer, D. H., & Stone, A. A. (1995). The effect of chronic stress associated with unemployment on salivary cortisol: Overall cortisol levels, diurnal rhythm, and acute stress reactivity. Psychosomatic Medicine, 57, 460–467.Google Scholar
  26. Ryan, R. M., Bernstein, J. H., Brown, K. W. (2010). Weekends, work, and well-being: Psychological need satisfactions and day of week effects on mood, vitality, and physical symptoms, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 29:1, 95–122.Google Scholar
  27. Schlotz, W., Hellhammer, J., Schulz, P., & Stone, A. A. (2004). Perceived work overload and chronic worrying predict weekend-weekday differences in the cortisol awakening response. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66(2), 207–214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schwartz, J. E., & Stone, A. A. (1998). Strategies for analyzing ecological momentary assessment data. Health Psychology, 17(1), 6–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Smyth, J., Ockenfels, M. C., Porter, L., Kirschbaum, C., Hellhammer, D. H., & Stone, A. A. (1998). Stressors and mood measured on a momentary basis are associated with salivary cortisol secretion. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 23(4), 353–370.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stone, A. A., Schneider, S. & Harter, J. K. (2010). Day-of-week mood patterns in the United States: On the existance of “blue Monday”, “TGIF”, and other weekly patterns. Research Paper.Google Scholar
  31. Stone, A. A., Schwartz, J. E., Broderick, J. E., & Deaton, A. (2010b). A snapshot of the age distribution of psychological well-being in the United States. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 107(22), 9985–9990.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. vanEck, M., Berkhof, H., Nicolson, N., & Sulon, J. (1996). The effects of perceived stress, traits, mood states, and stressful daily events on salivary cortisol. Psychosomatic Medicine, 58(5), 447–458.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gallup, Inc.OmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral ScienceStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

Personalised recommendations