Committee Chair

Cunningham, Christopher J. L.

Committee Member

O'Leary, Brian J.; Black, Kristen Jennings, 1991-


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This study tested a revised work recovery process model and provides guidance for work recovery activities based on their recovery quality value. A diverse sample of 540 MTurk workers served as the participants for this in-depth, mixed method approach to evaluating workers’ recovery activities (preferred and actual) as well as recovery needs. Using a modified model of the stress-recovery process, recovery quality was measured in terms of psychological detachment, mastery, and control, with relaxation serving as an outcome state associated with the proposed three core recovery mechanisms. A variety of analyses were used to support the idea that active recovery in peaceful, natural environments are more recovery-enhancing and to support the revised model. Results show how resources can effectively be replenished even when work-related demands are high (leading to better well-being and need for recovery outcomes). A comprehensive table of specific activities is provided as actionable guidance for optimal recovery.


I would first like to express my gratitude toward my thesis chair, Dr. Chris Cunningham, for his enthusiasm on this project and for always making it a priority amidst many other projects and deadlines. Thank you for offering your expertise and for pushing me to incorporate as much as possible to make the end product something to be proud of. I feel fortunate to say that I truly enjoyed working on this research in large part because of the guidance I was given to keep me motivated and curious. I would also like to thank Drs. Kristen Black and Brian O’Leary for supporting this research and offering their input to make this project the best it could be. I would like to thank Dr. Joanne Romagni (Vice Chancellor for Research at UTC) and my GA supervisor, Dr. Lisa Piazza (Director of the Office for Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor at UTC), for financially supporting this project through a university grant. Additionally, I am appreciative of the research assistants in the Healthy and Optimal Work (H.O.W.) lab (Camille Wheatley, Ellie Risinger, Hayden Curtis, and Braden Sanford) who helped code the large amount of qualitative data that was gathered for this study. Special thanks to my friends in the UTC I-O program for helping me practice what I study by forcing me out of my research zone at times to engage in some much-needed recovery activities. Finally, I want to thank those who contribute to recovery research and help to improve work and nonwork experiences. I hope organizations realize the powerful impact and implement suggestions from this field of research to improve the health and well-being of their workforce.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Employee morale; Job stress; Work -- Psychological aspects


Need for resource recovery; Psychological well-being; Quality of recovery; Recovery experiences; Work recovery; Work-related demands


Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Document Type

Masters theses




xii, 136 leaves