First Advisor

Leslie B. Hammer

Term of Graduation

Fall 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology






Medical personnel -- Job stress, Hours of labor -- Psychological aspects, Shift systems, Rest periods, Well-being



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 159 pages)


Recovery from work refers to the replenishment of energetic and affective resources depleted while meeting job demands, predominately conceptualized as a process that unfolds throughout the day. This study examined the shift work schedule demands presented by round-the-clock patient care needs on health care providers, and potential recovery opportunities during mid-shift meal and rest breaks. The cross-sectional data were collected via electronic questionnaire among registered nurses (N = 134) working in direct patient care roles in 24-hour healthcare organizations in the Northwestern United States (91.0% female-identified; mean age = 45.3 years). The main effects of adverse scheduling characteristics common among U.S. hospitals (10+ hour shifts, mandatory overtime, and time pressure), and recovery experiences (psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery experiences, and control during within-work breaks) as well as interactive effects of adverse scheduling characteristics and recovery experiences on nurses' occupational well-being (work engagement, work-related fatigue, and need for recovery) were tested. Hierarchical moderated regression analyses were conducted to test each combination of the focal study variables. Significant main effects were found for adverse scheduling characteristics on nurses' level of work-related fatigue and need for recovery, but no main effects for work engagement on well-being were detected. Psychological detachment, relaxation, and control during within-work breaks were significantly negatively associated with nurses' need for recovery at the end of a shift, and psychological detachment during within-work breaks was significantly negatively associated with nurses' work-related fatigue. Mastery experiences during within-work breaks were significantly positively related to nurses' levels of work engagement. No moderation effects were detected among the sets of analyses, which may be related to nurses' relatively infrequent within-work breaks in comparison to non-shift work populations. Examination of the temporal and built environment characteristics related to within-work breaks indicated that nurses had limited access to space away from the patient care environment to take rest and meal breaks during a typical shift. This study contributes contextual and cultural insights from an essential occupational group defined by shift work, an under-researched population in the recovery from work literature.


© 2021 Sarah Elizabeth Van Dyck

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