Job resources and emotional exhaustion: The mediating role of learning opportunities

J. Van Ruysseveldt*, P. Verboon, P. Smulders

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The Job Demands-Resources model predicts that job demands increase and job resources decrease emotional exhaustion in employees. In this study, we investigated one possible mechanism for this, in order to provide a deeper insight into the role of job resources in this energy-depletion process. We assumed that job resources (autonomy and task variety) reduce emotional exhaustion through the promotion of opportunities for personal growth and development, especially workplace learning. Moreover, we expected that job demands (workload, cognitive and emotional demands) would be positively related to work-related learning opportunities. Our research model was tested in a large and heterogeneous sample out of the Dutch working population (N = 4589), following a cross-validation procedure. Multi-group structural equation modelling revealed that autonomy and task variety promoted learning opportunities, which in turn partially mediated between these job resources and emotional exhaustion. With respect to job demands, our study showed mixed results: cognitive demands promoted learning opportunities, workload frustrated such opportunities, and emotional demands were not significantly related to learning opportunities. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between job demands, job resources and learning opportunities in the energy-depletion process, and support the need for the promotion of learning opportunities in the workplace.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)205-223
    Number of pages19
    JournalWork and Stress
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2011


    • ANALYSIS of variance
    • AUTONOMY (Psychology)
    • CHI-square test
    • Cognition
    • CONFIDENCE intervals
    • CORRELATION (Statistics)
    • EMPLOYMENT (Economic theory)
    • JOB descriptions
    • JOB stress
    • Learning
    • MATHEMATICAL models
    • PERSONNEL management
    • Probabilities
    • SCALE analysis (Psychology)
    • Surveys
    • EMPLOYEES -- Workload
    • Theory
    • JOB performance
    • SECONDARY analysis
    • EDUCATIONAL attainment
    • STRUCTURAL equation modeling
    • CROSS-sectional method
    • Netherlands
    • action theory
    • cognitive demands
    • Job Demands-Resources model
    • work-related stress
    • workload
    • workplace learning


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