Daily intense technology use after work: does it help with psychological recovery?

  • C. Quinones


Background: Information communication technologies (ICTs) have become a popular leisure platform. Psychological recovery during our leisure time is vital to replenish psychological and cognitive resources spent at work. In this paper I test whether intensive ICT use for private purposes can be an effective recovery strategy after work through a diary study. Methods A total of 320 people completed the baseline survey. Of these, 84 participants responded to the diary over 4 consecutive days, 3 times a day (before lunch, after work and before going to bed). This led to 880 data points. Items from validated instruments were used (e.g. Compulsive Internet Use (CIU) (Meerkerk, 2010) psychological recovery, Sonnentag, (2007)). Findings The impact of intensive Internet use on recovery appears to be moderated by trait levels of CIU. At high levels of CIU, the relationship between daily intensive Internet use and recovery before bed was negative (b=–1.18, SE=0.37, p<0.001), the opposite happened at low levels of CIU. Discussion: The findings suggest that for compulsive users, there seems to be a price to pay for ‘easy access’ to recovery activities, whereas non-compulsive users do experience positive effects from intensive ICT use. Thus, it is important that we experiment and test the real impact of after-work leisure activities on our health and amend these habits accordingly. Do these activities really help us feel more energised and more relaxed (i.e. recovered)? Or is it just a way to shut down uncomfortable emotions (e.g. frustration, anger or stress)?
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