This study uses the stressor-detachment model to hypothesize that the recovery experiences of psychological detachment and relaxation are less likely after workdays with high work pressure and that individuals will therefore feel more exhausted and less engaged after such days. We also predict that daily recovery experiences weaken the daily work pressure–exhaustion relationship and strengthen the daily work pressure–work engagement relationship. We followed 78 naval cadets during a 30-day voyage on a sailing ship from Northern Europe to North America. The cadets filled out daily questionnaires for 30 days. Multilevel analyses revealed positive relationships between work pressure and both daily exhaustion and daily work engagement. A Monte Carlo test supported two of the four mediation effects. Previous-day work pressure was positively related to exhaustion and negatively related to work engagement, through reduced relaxation, but not through psychological detachment. Psychological detachment (but not relaxation) moderated the link between daily work pressure and exhaustion, while neither of the recovery experiences moderated the link between daily work pressure and work engagement. Daily work pressure was most strongly related to exhaustion among cadets who reported low psychological detachment between shifts.
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