Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


Need for Recovery and Ineffective Self-Management

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Steve Jex


The present study examined the role of a person’s need for recovery in the relationship between work-related stress and a new set of behavioral and cognitive outcomes related to a person’s ability to work effectively. These new criteria, self-defeating behaviors and cognitions included decision making delay/avoidance, impulsivity, procrastination, escalation of commitment, and self-handicapping. All were measured with newly developed situational judgment and scenario-based measures. The guiding hypothesis was that need for recovery would mediate the relationships between stress and the multiple self-defeating behaviors and cognitions. Following two pilot studies for measure refinement, the actual sample of undergraduate students (N = 311) responded to two surveys (one week apart). Participants provided information about their current levels of perceived stress, personal recovery needs, and likelihood of engaging in each of the selfdefeating behaviors and cognitions depending on a specific scenario. Results of a series of hierarchical regression analyses supported the hypothesized mediation by need for recovery of the relationship between stress and self-handicapping. No evidence for mediation was found with respect to the other self-defeating behaviors and cognitions. However, several other important findings emerged, including main effects of need for recovery on procrastination and behavioral impulsivity. Several individual characteristics were also identified as significant predictors of multiple self-defeating behaviors and cognitions. These results highlighted the important roles need for recovery appears to play in the stress process as both a stress mediator and main effect on several forms of ineffective or selfdefeating behaviors and cognitions. Also apparent was the key role of personal characteristics such as gender and personality as additional predictors of a person’s development of selfdefeating behaviors and cognitions. Future research possibilities include further refinement of the situational measures and replication within different participant samples. Implications for occupational stress and recovery research and application are several, including (a) possible changes to the basic focus of stress research from stress perception to need for recovery identification and (b) multiple new uses for the new measure of need for resource recovery.