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Time for Self-Care: Downtime Recovery as a Buffer of Work and Home/Family Time Pressures

Dugan, Alicia G. PhD; Barnes-Farrell, Janet L. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 4 - p e46–e56
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000975
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
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Objective: Opportunities for people to recover from stress are insufficient, because demanding and excessive life activities leave little time for recovery. Downtime is a self-care behavior that can occur in any life domain (ie, work, home/family, leisure).

Methods: Using survey data from a cross-section of 422 U.S. workers, we tested hypotheses regarding downtime as a buffer of the effects of time pressure and whether downtime's benefits were related to the domain in which it was taken, or influenced by perceived time control.

Results: In situations of high time pressure, work and home/family downtime were beneficial when time control was high, while relaxing leisure was beneficial when time control was low.

Conclusions: Downtime is available whenever people recognize their need for recovery and respond by entering a state of physical relaxation and psychological detachment from stressors.

University of Connecticut Health Center, Department of Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut (Dr Dugan), and University of Connecticut, Department of Psychological Sciences, Division of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Storrs, Connecticut (Dr Barnes-Farrell).

Address correspondence to: Alicia G. Dugan, PhD, University of Connecticut Health Center, Department of Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06030 (adugan@uchc.edu).

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

This manuscript is based on work carried out as part of the first author's master's thesis research.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine