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


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.


Work Affect Physiology Cortisol Weekday-weekend differences 


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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

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