Cortisol on Sunday as indicator of recovery from work: Prediction by observer ratings of job demands and control

Elfering, Achim; Grebner, Simone; Ganster, Daniel C.; Berset, Martial; Kottwitz, Maria U.; Semmer, Norbert K. (2018). Cortisol on Sunday as indicator of recovery from work: Prediction by observer ratings of job demands and control. Work & Stress, 32(2), pp. 168-188. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/02678373.2017.1417337

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Several considerations guided the research reported in this paper. First, recovery is pivotal for preventing stressful experiences from inducing long-term consequences. Second, cortisol levels under relaxed conditions constitute a good baseline measure. Third, there are many calls to avoid common method problems. Therefore, the Job Demands–Control (JDS) model, one of the most prominent models in occupational stress, should be tested by a combination of observation, self-report, and physiological data in terms of predicting recovery-related variables. In a sample of 53 Swiss employees, we assessed the JDS variables, demands and control, by systematic observation, fatigue at the end of work as an indicator of short-term recovery by questionnaire, and delayed recovery by baseline levels of cortisol on a Sunday under relaxing conditions. In line with expectations, regression analyses showed an impact of job demands and control on Sunday cortisol levels, and this effect was fully mediated by after work fatigue. Contrary to expectations, there was no significant interaction between job demands and control. Demonstrating that job demands and control predict after-work fatigue as well as a delayed physiological marker of recovery, these findings suggest that high after-work fatigue may entail costs to the individual’s physiological systems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Elfering, Achim, Grebner, Simone Irmgard, Semmer, Norbert Karl


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Taylor & Francis




Christine Soltermann

Date Deposited:

20 Sep 2019 15:52

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:31

Publisher DOI:



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