Too anxious to help? Off-job affective rumination as a linking mechanism between work anxiety and helping

Charles Calderwood, Andrew A. Bennett, Allison S. Gabriel, John P. Trougakos, Jason J. Dahling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study explores the inter-relationships of work anxiety, affective rumination, and helping behaviours. Drawing on the effort–recovery model and resource depletion perspectives to extra-role behaviours, we hypothesized that employees with higher work anxiety would affectively ruminate about work during off-job time, which in turn would diminish their helping behaviours at work. Results of a multisource, time-lagged study with 167 full-time employee-co-worker dyads supported this indirect effect model. The results of this study extend research on work anxiety to encompass extra-role behaviours and indicate the value of exploring leisure time experiences as linking mechanisms in the work anxiety–job performance relationship. Practitioner points: We identify affective rumination during off-job time as a mechanism linking work anxiety to employee helping behaviours. Our findings suggest that efforts to reduce work anxiety and encourage effective employee recovery may yield more helping behaviours at work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-687
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • affective rumination
  • helping behaviours
  • work anxiety
  • work–non-work spillover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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