The impact of preventive coping on business travelers' work and private life

Cornelia Niessen, Teresa Müller, Sabine Hommelhoff, Mina Westman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Frequent business travel can be a burden for travelers' work and private life. We tested whether preventive coping (the proactive accumulation of resources in advance of potential stressors) makes such trips beneficial despite their potential to be stressful. In a longitudinal three-wave study, we investigated whether frequent travel relates to an increase or decrease in work–life balance, emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and relationship satisfaction depending on preventive coping. Findings from a sample of 133 frequent business travelers revealed significant indirect effects for emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and relationship satisfaction through work–life balance. Among employees who engaged less in preventive coping, a higher number of business trips was related to a decrease in work–life balance, which, in turn, was related to more emotional exhaustion, less work engagement, and lower relationship satisfaction. Among those who reported higher preventive coping, we found opposing indirect effects: Frequent travel was related to an increase in work–life balance and, in turn, to less emotional exhaustion, more work engagement, and higher relationship satisfaction. These findings advance our knowledge in the field of business travel, future-oriented coping, and work–life balance. They highlight that travelers and their organizations should resort to preventive coping to make frequent travel more beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-127
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Keywords

  • exhaustion
  • preventive coping
  • relationship satisfaction
  • work engagement
  • work–life balance

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