Daily micro-breaks and job performance: General work engagement as a cross-level moderator

Sooyeol Kim, Young Ah Park, Lucille Headrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the growing research on work recovery and its well-being outcomes, surprisingly little attention has been paid to at-work recovery and its job performance outcomes. The current study extends the work recovery literature by examining day-level relationships between prototypical microbreaks and job performance as mediated by state positive affect. Furthermore, general work engagement is tested as a cross-level moderator weakening the indirect effects of microbreaks on job performance via positive affect. Using multisource experience sampling method, the authors collected two daily surveys from 71 call center employees and obtained objective records of daily sales performance for two consecutive weeks (n = 632). Multilevel path analysis results showed that relaxation, socialization, and cognitive microbreaks were related to increased positive affect at work which, in turn, predicted greater sales performance. However, breaks for nutrition-intake (having snacks and drinks) did not show significant effects. Importantly, microbreaks had significant indirect effects on job performance via positive affect only for workers who had lower general work engagement, whereas the indirect effects did not exist for workers who had higher general work engagement. Furthermore, Bayesian multilevel analyses confirmed the results. Theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)772-786
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Job performance
  • Micro-breaks
  • Positive affect
  • Recovery
  • Work engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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