Does Strengths Use Mean Better Focus? Well-being and Attentional Performance at the Episodic Level

Wei Liu*, Dimitri van der Linden, Arnold B. Bakker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Positive psychology postulates that using one’s strengths can facilitate employee well-being and performance at work. However, whether strengths use is associated with attentional performance has remained unanswered in the literature. Attention plays a role in job performance, and previous literature has suggested a contrasting link between well-being (i.e., positive affect) and attentional performance. We hypothesize that, within work episodes, strength use is positively associated with eudaimonic (i.e., meaningfulness and personal growth) and hedonic well-being (i.e., positive affect). Further, we test the episodic process model by arguing that strengths use and well-being during one work episode are negatively related to subsequent attentional performance. In total, 115 participants registered for the current study, and 86 participants filled out the daily questionnaire once per day across five working days (a total of 365 daily reports). Multilevel analyses showed that episodic strengths use was not directly related to subsequent attentional performance. Episodic strengths use was positively related to a higher level of meaningfulness, personal growth, and positive affect. In turn, experienced meaningfulness was negatively related to subsequent attentional performance. However, personal growth and positive affect did not explain variance in attentional performance. These findings suggest that strength use may be accompanied with higher experienced meaningfulness, although the latter may be detrimental for subsequent attentional performance. Theoretical implications and contributions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2763-2785
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by Chinese Scholarship Council (No. 201706220053).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

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