Article ID: 2015-0097
This study examined whether a higher level of psychological detachment during non-work time is associated with better employee mental health (Hypothesis 1), and examined whether psychological detachment has a curvilinear relation (inverted U-shaped pattern) with work engagement (Hypothesis 2). A large cross-sectional Internet survey was conducted among registered monitors of an Internet survey company in Japan. The questionnaire included scales for psychological detachment, employee mental health, and work engagement as well as for job characteristics and demographic variables as potential confounders. The hypothesized model was tested with moderated structural equation modeling techniques among 2,234 respondents working in the tertiary industries with regular employment. Results showed that psychological detachment had curvilinear relations with mental health as well as with work engagement. Mental health improved when psychological detachment increased from a low to higher levels but did not benefit any further from extremely high levels of psychological detachment. Work engagement showed the highest level at an intermediate level of detachment (inverted U-shaped pattern). Although high psychological detachment may enhance employee mental health, moderate levels of psychological detachment are most beneficial for his or her work engagement.