Send to

Choose Destination
Stress Health. 2014 Aug;30(3):232-43. doi: 10.1002/smi.2600.

Vacation effects on behaviour, cognition and emotions of compulsive and non-compulsive workers: do obsessive workers go 'cold turkey'?

Author information

Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands; School of Social Sciences & Humanities, University of Tampere, Finland.


Compulsive workers often face psychological and physical health disturbances because of working long hours and an obsessive preoccupation with work during off-job time. Prolonged respite episodes may either relief these employees from their daily stressors to recover or trigger withdrawal symptoms. Our research question was as follows: How do (1) work hours, (2) rumination and (3) affective well-being unfold for compulsive workers compared with non-compulsive workers across long vacations? In a longitudinal field study, work hours, rumination and affective well-being were assessed in 54 employees 2 weeks before, during and in the first, second and fourth week after a long summer vacation. Working compulsively was assessed 3 weeks before vacation. Work hours decreased during and increased after vacation. Levels of rumination dropped during vacation and remained below baseline until 2 weeks after vacation. Initial differences in rumination between obsessive and non-obsessive workers disappeared during and directly after vacation. Affective well-being rose during vacation and returned to baseline directly after vacation. Increases in affective well-being during vacation as well as decreases after vacation were greater in obsessive workers than in non-obsessive workers. Vacations seem to temporarily offset characteristic differences between obsessive and non-obsessive workers, decrease rumination and improve affective well-being.


holiday; rumination; stress; work hours; workaholic

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center