Effects of a respite from work on burnout: vacation relief and fade-out

J Appl Psychol. 1997 Aug;82(4):516-27. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.82.4.516.


In a quasi-experiment designed to examine the relief from job stress and burnout afforded by a vacation respite, 76 clerks completed measures of job stress and burnout twice before a vacation, once during vacation, and twice after vacation. There was a decline in burnout during the vacation and a return to prevacation levels by the time of the second postvacation measure. Comparing the two prevacation measures indicated no anticipation effects. However, the return to work showed gradual fade-out, as burnout returned part way toward its prevacation level by 3 days after the vacation and all the way by 3 weeks after the vacation. Women and those satisfied with their vacations experienced greater relief; however, both subsamples also experienced the quickest fade-out. The respite effect and its complete fade-out were detected among all subgroups analyzed. Burnout, relief, interpersonal stress crossover, and burnout climate at work are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological