Relief from job stressors and burnout: reserve service as a respite

J Appl Psychol. 1998 Aug;83(4):577-85. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.83.4.577.


To reveal the ameliorative impact of being away from job stressors on burnout, we compared 81 men who were called for active reserve service with 81 matched controls in the same company who were not called during the same period. Each reservist and his control completed questionnaires shortly before the reservist left work for a stint of service and immediately on his return. Analysis of variance detected a significant decline in job stress and burnout among those who served and no change among the control participants. Among those who served, quality of reserve service and degree of psychological detachment from work interacted in moderating the respite effects; the greater the detachment, the stronger the effect positive reserve service experience had in relieving reservists from stress and burnout. Reserve service is discussed as a special case of stress-relieving get-away from work that may be experienced as an ameliorative respite akin to vacation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*