The Anticipation of Leisure Time : the Relationship between Pleasant Anticipation of a Planned Leisure Activity, Leisure Thoughts, General Anticipation of Leisure Time, and Employees’ Work Engagement





Faculty/Professorship: Fakultät Humanwissenschaften: Abschlussarbeiten ; Work and Organisational Psychology  
Author(s): Seibel, Sebastian  
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2022
Pages: X, 132 ; Illustrationen
Supervisor(s): Volmer, Judith  ; Wolstein, Jörg  
Language(s): English
Remark: 
Kumulative Dissertation, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, 2021
DOI: 10.20378/irb-53076
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY-NC - Attribution - NonCommercial 4.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-530760
Abstract: 
Recovery research has demonstrated that leisure time and leisure activities are crucial for employees’ recovery, psychological well-being, general health, and job performance. Because leisure time offers opportunities to recover and gain new resources (e.g., energy), employees may also anticipate their leisure time while still working. Hence, I investigated in three studies whether the anticipation of leisure time is related to employees’ work engagement, a positive, motivational work-related state associated with employees’ well-being and job performance.
In Study 1, the focus was on pleasant anticipation of a planned leisure activity and work engagement. Pleasant anticipation is a positive, affective reaction because of a future event with a high probability of occurrence. I assumed that pleasant anticipation indicates an upcoming resource gain, and therefore, pleasant anticipation may positively relate to employees’ work engagement. In addition, recovery-related self-efficacy (RRSE) was investigated as a moderator in this relationship. Two online studies were conducted: Study 1a (N = 87 employees) covered one working day, and Study 1b (N = 84 employees) contained five days within one working week. The results revealed that pleasant anticipation was positively related to work engagement between persons but not within persons. RRSE was not found to be a moderator.
Study 2 investigated whether employees think of their upcoming leisure time during the working day. Hence, the construct of leisure thoughts was introduced, and two types of leisure thoughts were differentiated, namely thoughts of leisure time (ToLT) and thoughts of a planned leisure activity (ToPLA). I argued that pleasant anticipation of a planned leisure activity relates to the frequency of ToPLA, yet not of ToLT, and that both types of leisure thoughts occur more frequently at the beginning and the end of the working day. Furthermore, as leisure thoughts may distract employees from the task at hand, they may negatively relate to work engagement across the working day and within one hour. However, ToPLA may also be positively associated with work engagement in the subsequent hour when the planned leisure activity has a positive leisure plan valence. In sum, the findings from a one-day online survey with hourly measurement points (N = 89 employees) supported the hypotheses for the occurrence of both types of leisure thoughts. Furthermore, ToLT were negatively related to work engagement across the working day, and ToPLA were negatively related to work engagement within the same hour. However, the relationship between ToPLA and work engagement in the subsequent hour was negative when the leisure plan valence was positive.
Based on the findings from Study 1 and Study 2, Study 3 shed light on leisure thoughts as a mechanism, which connects pleasant anticipation of a planned leisure activity and work engagement. Thus, ToPLA were examined as a mediator between pleasant anticipation and work engagement on a daily level. Furthermore, morning recovery was incorporated to ascertain whether recovery (i.e., a consequence of past leisure time) and the anticipation of leisure time simultaneously explain work engagement. In addition, because pleasant anticipation of a planned leisure activity only referred to a specific leisure activity, general anticipation of leisure time was introduced as a cognitive, overall evaluation of employees’ entire leisure time after the working day. An online diary study (N = 148 employees) across one week was conducted. The results revealed that general anticipation of leisure time, yet not pleasant anticipation of a planned leisure activity, and morning recovery were positively related to work engagement within persons. Furthermore, pleasant anticipation of a planned leisure activity was positively related to ToPLA, but ToPLA was not related to work engagement; thus, ToPLA was not found to be a mediator.
Across three studies, different variables referring to the anticipation of leisure time were positively or negatively associated with work engagement, indicating that upcoming leisure time is crucial for present work engagement. The findings extend the understanding of leisure time, have practical implications for recovery training and work engagement interventions, and pave the way for further research on the anticipation of leisure time and leisure activities.
GND Keywords: Freizeit; Vorfreude; Arbeitseinstellung; Arbeitsleistung
Keywords: pleasant anticipation; leisure thoughts; work engagement; leisure time; recovery-related self-efficacy; morning recovery; conservation of resources theory;
DDC Classification: 150 Psychology  
RVK Classification: CW 2000   
Type: Doctoralthesis
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/53076
Release Date: 3. March 2022

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