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Relationships between two dimensions of employee perfectionism, postwork cognitive processing, and work day functioning

Journal article
Authors Paul Flaxman
Christopher Stride
Mia Söderberg
Joda Lloyd
Joda Guenole
Frank Bond
Published in European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume 27
Issue 1
Pages 56-69
ISSN 1359-432X
Publication year 2018
Published at
Pages 56-69
Language en
Keywords employee perfectionism, postwork cognitive processing, work day functioning
Subject categories Occupational medicine


This daily diary study examined relations between two distinct perfectionism dimensions and work-related cognitions experienced by employees during evening leisure time. Drawing from perseverative cognitive processing theory, we hypothesized that perfectionistic concerns would be related to work-related worry and rumination during postwork evenings. In contrast, we hypothesized that a theoretically more adaptive perfectionist dimension (perfectionistic strivings) would be associated with positively valenced self-reflections about work across consecutive evenings. A sample of 148 full-time workers completed an initial survey, which included a trait perfectionism measure, reported their work-related cognitions across four consecutive evenings of a working week, rated their sleep quality immediately upon awakening on each subsequent morning, and their daily levels of emotional exhaustion and work engagement at the end of each work day. Results showed that perfectionistic concerns were indirectly negatively associated with sleep quality and work day functioning via the tendency to worry and ruminate about work. In contrast, perfectionistic strivings were indirectly positively associated with work day engagement via the propensity to experience positive thoughts about work during evening leisure time. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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