Does vacation enable recuperation? Changes in well-being associated with time away from work

Occup Med (Lond). 2000 Apr;50(3):167-72. doi: 10.1093/occmed/50.3.167.


The objective of this paper was to study the change of well-being associated with vacation and the effect of vacation related variables on these changes. Fifty-three employees (16 women, 37 men) of a medium sized aluminium hardware manufacturer in Austria participated. Measures were taken 10 days before and 3 days after vacation. A small follow-up group at 5 weeks post-vacation was included. Three days after vacation, physical complaints, the quality of sleep and mood had improved as compared to before vacation. Average life satisfaction did not change during vacation. Five weeks after vacation subjects still reported less physical complaints than before vacation. The experienced recuperation during vacation explained 56% of the variance regarding the change of well-being. Moderating variables of recuperation were the amount of personally available time and vacation satisfaction. Furthermore, the number of stressful days at home were associated negatively, while the number of non-stressful days at home and the number of days away from home correlated moderately positively with recuperation. The study indicates that vacation may improve well-being on a short term basis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Austria
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Holidays*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Time Factors