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The Incessant Inbox: Evaluating the Relevance of After-Hours E-Mail Characteristics for Work-Related Rumination and Well-Being.

  • Minnen, Molly E1
  • Mitropoulos, Tanya1
  • Rosenblatt, Alexa K2
  • Calderwood, Charles1
  • 1 Virginia Tech, Department of Psychology, 109 Williams Hall, 890 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, VA, USA, 24061.
  • 2 George Washington University, Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication, 600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC, USA, 20052.
Published Article
Stress and health : journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress
Publication Date
Oct 21, 2020
DOI: 10.1002/smi.2999
PMID: 33085786


While many employees read and respond to work-related e-mails in the evenings after work, the mechanisms through which after-hours e-mailing influences well-being remain poorly understood. In particular, there has been limited consideration of whether different characteristics of after-hours e-mails (frequency, duration, perceived tone) may trigger work-related rumination that influences employee well-being at bedtime (i.e., the end of the post-work period). To address this gap in the literature, data were collected from 59 employees during a five-day daily survey period. We expected after-hours e-mail frequency, duration, and perceived tone to indirectly relate to employee vigor and fatigue at bedtime (two common well-being criteria) via affective rumination and problem-solving pondering (two major forms of work-related rumination). Our results indicated that a more negatively perceived after-hours e-mail tone influenced both vigor and fatigue via affective rumination. Further, our findings suggested diverging implications of after-hours e-mailing frequency and duration for problem-solving pondering, with longer duration and more frequent after-hours e-mailing co-varying with higher and lower levels of this form of rumination, respectively. These findings demonstrate the importance of considering various characteristics of after-hours e-mailing and corresponding implications of work-related rumination when studying employee well-being. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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