Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Barber, Larissa K.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Social media--Psychological aspects; Employees--Health aspects; Work environment--Psychological aspects; Information technology--Psychological aspects


This dissertation examined the impact of social media micro-breaks during the workday on worker energy. Social media micro-breaks (SMMBs) are discretionary, nonwork breaks that employees insert throughout the workday to engage with social media. Although it is well documented that employees use social media for personal purposes during the workday, little is known about the impact of SMMBs on employee well-being. Drawing on the frameworks proposed by the Job Demands-Resources model of job stress and the Stressor-Detachment model, two studies were conducted to examine 1) whether the frequency and duration of SMMBs positively impacted worker energy by reducing workday fatigue and increasing vigor, 2) whether the proposed energetic benefits of SMMBs occurred because workers were able to psychologically detach from work during SMMBs, 3) whether the proposed workday energetic benefits of SMMBs spilled over into the evening, predicting decreased need for recovery, and 4) whether SMMBs were less effective in reducing fatigue and increasing vigor when users' experienced low happiness during SMMBs. Study 1 utilized a cross-sectional design to examine the use of SMMBs and the hypothesized outcomes during the preceding workday in a sample of 362 full-time employees. Study 2 used a within-day experience-sampling methodology to assess 154 full-time employees' use of SMMBs and associated outcomes during four measurement periods over the course of one workday and to assess participants' need for recovery before bedtime. Overall, the results did not support the hypotheses with respect to fatigue-reduction nor did they support the mediating role of psychological detachment or the moderating role of low user happiness in the relationship between SMMBs and the proposed outcomes. There was support for a positive relationship between frequency of SMMBs and vigor at the between-person level, and evidence that vigor associated with user happiness during SMMBs predicted decreased need for recovery at bedtime. Taken together, the findings suggested that SMMBs may be discretionary breaks that provide opportunities for workers to gain personal resources (i.e., happiness and vigor) during the workday, rather than breaks to recover from work demands.


Advisors: Larissa K. Barber.||Committee members: James P. Burton; Lisa M. Finkelstein; Alecia M. Santuzzi; Adam Stoverink; Mahesh Subramony.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


ix, 196 pages




Northern Illinois University

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