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APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY: AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW, 2013, 62 (4), 655–677 doi: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.2012.00502.x

An Exploratory Study of Factors that Relate to Burnout in Hobby-Jobs Sabrina D. Volpone Temple University, USA

Sara Jansen Perry* University of Houston-Downtown, USA

Cristina Rubino California State University—Northridge, USA

Using the Job Demands-Resources model as a theoretical foundation, we explored the relationships among job demands, internal resources, and burnout in a unique population of workers—individuals with hobby-jobs (i.e. jobs created from a hobby). We examined four job demands (i.e. variety, constraints, time spent on hobby, hobby/job similarity) as antecedents of the three dimensions of burnout (i.e. emotional exhaustion, cynicism, professional efficacy) and moderating effects of internal resources (i.e. conscientiousness, emotional stability) on these relationships. We found that all four demands predicted emotional exhaustion. Further, variety and constraints related to cynicism and variety was associated with diminished professional efficacy. Conscientiousness and emotional stability moderated some of these relationships, indicating that these traits may indeed act as internal resources. Our findings suggest that individuals in hobby-jobs are affected by job demands as in other jobs, but may also face unique demands. Personality traits and behaviors consistent with those traits may help individuals pursuing hobby-jobs by protecting them from burnout.

INTRODUCTION Caltech astronomy professor Mike Brown recently described his love for space, which was a childhood passion that continued into adulthood. His words likely resonate with many seeking to do what they love for a living: “Like many kids in the 1970s, I was space crazy . . . thirty-five years later and my hobby has become a full-time job” (Brown, 2011, p. 9). Not all * Address for correspondence: Sara Jansen Perry, University of Houston-Downtown, Department of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration, One Main Street #453B, Houston, TX 77002, USA. Email: perrys@uhd.edu © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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“hobby-jobs” require as much educational investment, however, and many such jobs allow individuals to become their own boss. Popular examples include yoga instructors, personal chefs, and photographers, many of whom were attracted to these positions primarily because of their love of their chosen leisure activity. As the economy worsens and more jobs are lost, more people may consider this type of career move. Self-employment boasts many benefits, including opportunities for financial gain, challenge, and personal achievement. Self-employed individuals also enjoy more autonomy than individuals employed by organisations (Benz & Frey, 2008) because self-employed individuals do not have to answer to supervisors or work with co-workers that are selected by others. However, self-employment also presents a number of potential disadvantages (Jamal, 2007). For example, unlike organisationally employed workers, self-employed entrepreneurs in hobby-jobs cannot rely on organisational support systems like disability pay, vacation time, or healthcare (Maslach, Shaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). In addition, long work hours, personal sacrifice, additional responsibility, risk of business failure, and role ambiguity are often cited as stressors for those who are self-employed (Jamal & Badawi, 1995; Rubino, Luksyte, Perry, & Volpone, 2009; Thompson, Kopelman, & Schriescheim, 1992). On account of facing these unique stressors, one risk of self-employment is burnout. For self-employed workers with hobby-jobs, burnout can threaten their personal passion for both the hobby and the hobby-job. To better understand the burnout experienced by self-employed individuals in hobby-jobs, we conducted an exploratory study in which our goal was to uncover antecedents of burnout among these individuals. This investigation is timely; in the United States alone, the rate of self-employment grew 5 per cent between 1979 and 2003 (Self-employment up sharply, 2005). Although researchers have explored burnout in entrepreneurs, to our knowledge, hobby-jobs have not been studied. As such, the results of the current study could have important implications for those in hobby-jobs or other self-employed jobs (Jamal, 2007). We structure the subsequent sections of the introduction as follows. First, we review the burnout literature. Second, we describe four job demands as antecedents of burnout. Third, we explore the moderating role of internal resources on the effect of demands on burnout. Overall, we examine the relationships among demands, resources, and burnout by leveraging the Job Demands-Resources model (JD-R; Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001) as a framework to build our theoretical arguments.

Burnout Burnout is “a state of exhaustion in which one is cynical about the value of one’s occupation and doubtful of one’s capacity to perform” (Maslach, © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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Jackson, & Leiter, 1996, p. 20). It has three aspects—emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and decreased professional efficacy (Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004; Maslach et al., 2001). Emotional exhaustion is a general feeling of fatigue toward one’s work. Cynicism, or depersonalisation, reflects negative affect toward one’s work, including a feeling that it has little meaning or importance. Decreased professional efficacy is lacking competence at work, or feeling as if one is incompetent in certain areas. Burnout is a chronic condition and results in a number of negative outcomes, including decreased performance, satisfaction, commitment, and increased turnover (Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004). Jamal conducted two studies that compared burnout levels in selfemployed and organisation-employed workers (Jamal, 2007, 2009). He found that self-employed individuals experienced higher overall burnout, emotional exhaustion, and lack of accomplishment than organisationally employed individuals. These findings support our assertion that burnout is likely also a serious concern for individuals in hobby-jobs.

Antecedents of Burnout We draw on the JD-R model (Demerouti et al., 2001), which highlights the unique roles of job demands and resources, to explore various antecedents of burnout for individuals in hobby-jobs. Empirical research across occupations suggests that demands and burnout are related positively, whereas resources and burnout are related negatively (Crawford, LePine, & Rich, 2010). Job demands refer to aspects of a job that require sustained physical and/or psychological effort and therefore are associated with certain physiological and/or psychological costs (e.g. exhaustion; Demerouti et al., 2001; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004). Examples include travel requirements, pressure to perform, and tight deadlines. Resources, in contrast, are psychosocial characteristics that can help employees meet the challenges job demands present. When employees do not have the required resources to confront the demands in their job, the consequence is often burnout (Demerouti et al., 2001). In the present study, we examine four job demands, two of which are commonly studied antecedents of burnout (i.e. variety and constraints) and two that are specific to hobby-jobs (i.e. time spent on hobby, hobby/job similarity). We also examine two internal resources (i.e. conscientiousness, emotional stability) as moderators of the demands–burnout relationship.

Job Characteristics as Job Demands First, variety is defined by Hackman and Oldham (1980) as “the degree to which a job requires employees to perform a wide range of operations in their work and/or the degree to which employees must use a variety of equipment © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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and procedures in their work” (p. 42). Lack of variety is a job demand because, when employees are without it, they exert sustained physical and/or psychological effort trying to overcome boredom or repetitiveness. As they continue to complete mundane, routine tasks, they may experience burnout. Low levels of variety in hobby-jobs also likely relate to burnout (e.g. Deery, Iverson, & Walsh, 2002). For instance, yoga instructors might describe their job as low in variety if they teach the same yoga routine repeatedly. This may increase the likelihood of burnout because boredom may diminish the satisfaction once associated with hobby-related activities (i.e. practicing yoga in a variety of different ways). As such, when hobby-jobs have low levels of variety, performing repetitious tasks may tax one’s emotional resources (resulting in emotional exhaustion), fuel a person’s disgruntlement towards their job (cynicism), and diminish their belief that they are capable of doing anything else (decreased professional efficacy). Conversely, when a hobby-job is characterised by high levels of variety, burnout is not as likely because the hobby-related tasks are not monotonous (e.g. a yoga instructor that spontaneously changes yoga practices, poses, and modifies these for different students). As such, the tasks performed for the hobby-job still bring joy and satisfaction, reducing the likelihood of burnout (i.e. emotional exhaustion, cynicism, or decreased professional efficacy). Based on literature that supports a negative relationship between variety and burnout (e.g. Deery et al., 2002) and the theory presented above, we propose the following: Hypothesis 1a–c: Variety is negatively related to (a) emotional exhaustion, (b) cynicism, and (c) decreased professional efficacy.

The second demand of interest, job constraints, refers to obstacles that interfere with the ability to perform one’s job (e.g. lack of time or functioning equipment; Peters & O’Connor, 1980). We conceptualise constraints as a job demand because when employees experience constraints, they must sustain increased physical and/or psychological effort to overcome them (e.g. Best, Stapleton, & Downey, 2005). Individuals facing constraints in hobby-jobs may be particularly susceptible to burnout as they have to rely on their own skills, abilities, and motivation for the business to succeed (Jamal, 2007). As such, when individuals in hobby-jobs experience many constraints, tasks may no longer be enriching, potentially leading to burnout. Emotional exhaustion may result because constraints may be overwhelming, taxing individuals’ emotional resources and inducing negative emotions. Further, cynicism is likely because displeasure may be experienced when performing job-related tasks that are impeded by constraints. Finally, decreased professional efficacy may occur if individuals do not feel effective when doing their job, as a result of constantly facing obstacles they cannot © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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overcome. Conversely, when a hobby-job has few constraints, burnout is not as likely because job duties can be effectively performed; therefore, the joy found in the hobby may still be present in the hobby-job. Thus, based on the extant literature and the theoretical reasoning presented, we propose the following hypothesis: Hypothesis 2a窶田: Constraints are positively related to (a) emotional exhaustion, (b) cynicism, and (c) decreased professional efficacy.

Two specific job demands are also of interest when examining hobby-jobs: time spent on hobby and hobby/job similarity. First, time spent on the hobby is the difference between the hours per week spent on the hobby before individuals began the hobby-job and the hours spent since beginning their hobby-job. (Positive values indicate that individuals spent less time on the hobby since beginning the hobby-job, whereas negative values indicate more time is spent on the hobby since starting the hobby-job.) How time is spent away from work directly impacts well-being and performance, impacting the levels of physical and/or psychological effort exerted in accomplishing job-related tasks (Sonnentag, 2005). If individuals spend less time on a hobby (that likely restores them) after starting a hobby-job, then that hobby may no longer contribute to or protect overall well-being, and burnout is likely (Ryan & Deci, 2000). As such, an individual is at risk for emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and decreased professional efficacy if they reduce the amount of restorative time they spend on the hobby after starting the hobby-job. Specifically, emotional exhaustion is likely to result when individuals spend less time on a hobby that functions to restore emotional resources. Individuals are also likely to view their jobs negatively (i.e. cynicism) if that job reduces time for restorative activities. Finally, individuals may even feel professionally incompetent (i.e. decreased professional efficacy) if their hobby-job takes too much time and energy away from personal, restorative pursuits like their hobby (i.e. they may perceive this as a failure in time management or career choice). Literature on the restorative functions of non-work activities supports our assertions, as the likelihood of burnout generally decreases during non-work time activities (e.g. vacations; Sonnentag, 2005). As such, we propose the following: Hypothesis 3: People who spend less time on the hobby after beginning a hobbyjob will experience higher levels of burnout. Specifically, positive values on this construct (indicating less time spent on the hobby) are associated with higher levels of (a) emotional exhaustion, (b) cynicism, and (c) decreased professional efficacy.

Finally, we propose that burnout is more likely when a hobby and hobbyjob are not similar. When similar work is performed in the hobby-job as was ツゥ 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review ツゥ 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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pursued in the hobby, people may be more likely to reap restorative benefits while working, intrinsically enjoying the activity, and thereby minimising the risk of burnout (Ryan & Deci, 2000). If the nature of a hobby-job is such that it allows release from day-to-day hassles and even opportunities to learn, both of which are typically associated with restorative hobbies, then the likelihood of burnout will decrease (Fritz & Sonnentag, 2006). Further, if the skills required by the hobby-job are similar to the hobby, less psychological and/or physical effort is required, reducing the likelihood of burnout. Consider the example of someone who makes scrapbooks as a hobby. If a person also makes scrapbooks in return for a payment, then the task they perform in their hobby-job is nearly identical to the hobby. Namely, they are still using their creative energy and skills to create memory books. Therefore, at least some of the inherent restorative functions of that activity may remain intact while the person utilises skills they already know and enjoy. This may reduce the likelihood of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, or decreased professional efficacy. However, when a scrapbooker opens a scrapbook retail store, that person must then focus on marketing, accounting, inventory, and customer service. These tasks are not similar to the task of scrapbooking, preventing the opportunity for the restorative functions of scrapbooking to protect the individual from burnout. Further, consistent with work design research, the hobby-job may require very different competencies, which may be stressful for the individual. For instance, when technical employees are promoted to management positions, they are often not successful and may even experience heightened burnout (Edwards, Scully, & Brtek, 2000). Just as a managerial job often requires very different competencies than that of an individual contributor, including leading, motivating, and influencing people (Howell & Avolio, 1993), a hobby-job may require different skill sets from the hobby and individuals become emotionally taxed (i.e. emotional exhaustion), frustrated with their hobby-job (i.e. cynicism), and feel that they are incompetent in completing tasks (i.e. decreased personal efficacy). Thus, we propose the following: Hypothesis 4: Hobby/job similarity is negatively related to (a) emotional exhaustion, (b) cynicism, and (c) decreased professional efficacy.

Job Demands and Internal Resources Interact to Predict Burnout Although we have proposed that job demands lead to heightened burnout, the literature suggests that certain resources may help buffer these detrimental effects (Bakker, Demerouti, & Euwema, 2005; Perry, Witt, Penney, & Atwater, 2010; Xanthopoulou, Bakker, Demerouti, & Schaufeli, 2007). Consistent with a popular view in the management literature, across a range of Š 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review Š 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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research areas, that work-related outcomes are not only caused by characteristics of the situation or the person, but by the interactive effects of both (Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004; Perry et al., 2010), we hypothesise a series of demand–resource interactions. According to the JD-R model, resources reduce the physiological and psychological costs of job demands, are functional in achieving work goals, and stimulate personal growth, learning, and development (Demerouti et al., 2001). Richter and Hacker (1998) divide job resources into two categories: external resources (i.e. organisational, social) and internal resources (i.e. cognitive features, action patterns). In our study, we focus on two traits from the Big Five framework of personality as internal resources. Personality traits are appropriately considered as internal resources because they are cognitive features that produce action patterns used to manage job demands (Connor-Smith & Flachsbart, 2007; Hobfoll, 1989). Of the Big Five personality constructs, we focus on conscientiousness and emotional stability because they are highly predictive of job performance and strain across a range of jobs (Barrick, Mount, & Judge, 2001). Conscientiousness is the most valid predictor of job performance, second only to intelligence (Mount, Barrick, & Strauss, 1999). Likewise, emotional stability is the most consistent predictor of burnout across contexts (Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004). We assert that these predictors have received such distinction because they act as internal resources, on which people rely to function effectively and maintain their personal well-being at work. As a result, we aimed to shed further light on how they function in relation to burnout in hobby-jobs. First, we expect that high conscientiousness will attenuate the relationship between job demands and burnout because when employees have higher levels of conscientiousness (e.g. responsible, dependable, proactively anticipate and solve problems; McCrae & John, 1992; Witt, Burke, Barrick, & Mount, 2002), they are more successful at navigating the negative influences of job demands. The result will likely be lower levels of burnout in the face of job demands (Perry et al., 2010). To elaborate, when job demands present themselves, individuals with high levels of conscientiousness can manage the negative influences of job demands with problem-solving abilities, organised effort, and diligence. They are not as likely as those with low levels of conscientiousness to become emotionally taxed (i.e. emotional exhaustion), frustrated with their job (i.e. cynicism), or experience feelings of incompetence (i.e. decreased personal efficacy) due to their ability to confront job demands successfully. Therefore, we present the following hypotheses: Hypotheses 5a–c: Conscientiousness will moderate the relationship between job demands and (a) emotional exhaustion, (b) cynicism, and (c) decreased professional efficacy. © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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Second, we propose that emotional stability attenuates the relationship between job demands and burnout because when individuals have high levels of this trait (e.g. calm and self-assured even in the face of difficulties at work; Costa & McCrae, 1992; Goldberg, 1999), they are more calm and effective as they navigate job demands. As emotionally stable individuals are confronted with job demands, they do not become easily emotionally taxed (i.e. emotional exhaustion), overly frustrated (i.e. cynicism), or insecure about their abilities (i.e. decreased personal efficacy). This is compared to individuals with low levels of emotional stability, who tend to be more anxious, tense, insecure, fearful, and self-pitying (McCrae & John, 1992). These individuals may not have sufficient internal resources to navigate the negative influences of job demands, inadvertently exacerbating those effects (Colbert, Mount, Harter, Witt, & Barrick, 2004). Thus, we present the following hypotheses: Hypotheses 6a–c: Emotional stability will moderate the relationship between job demands and (a) emotional exhaustion, (b) cynicism, and (c) decreased professional efficacy.

METHOD

Participants and Procedure To recruit participants for this study, we posted survey invitations in approximately 20 online career discussion forums. Further, we worked with three professional organisations to invite people in a wide range of hobbyjobs to participate. To be eligible to participate in the study, individuals had to be 18 years of age or over and currently have a hobby-job. Participants responded to a 15-minute online survey. In total, 271 people completed the survey. On average, participants were 47.5 years of age (SD = 12.3), and the majority were male (69%) and Caucasian (92%). Further, most participants had education that extended past high school (20.3% had completed only their high school diploma, 7% had only military training after high school, 27.7% had some college education, 12.6% completed an associate’s degree, 33.2% completed a bachelor’s degree, 14.8% completed a master’s degree, and 4.7% completed a doctoral degree). Not only were all respondents self-employed (as business owners or contractors), they also all had a high level of autonomy (mean = 6.18, on a scale of 1 to 7). Average tenure in the hobby-job was 7 years (SD = 7.0) and average tenure in the hobby was 17 years (SD = 12.8). The hobby-jobs covered five categories of activities [making goods to sell (36%), instructing others in the activity (9%), providing professional services related to the activity (51%), selling goods in a related area (3%), competing in the activity in a professional capacity (<1%)]. © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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Measures Burnout. We used the 16-item General Survey of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) to measure three dimensions of burnout (Maslach et al., 1996). This measure is widely used and has shown factorial validity across many occupational groups (Langballe, Falkum, Innstrand, & Aasland, 2006). Sample items include: “I feel emotionally drained from my work” (exhaustion dimension), “I doubt the significance of my work” (cynicism dimension), and “In my opinion, I am good at my job” (professional efficacy dimension; reverse-scored). Participants answered each item on a 7-point frequency scale ranging from 1 = “Never” to 7 = “Every Day”. Variety. We used three items from the Job Characteristics Inventory (Sims, Szilagyi, & Keller, 1976) to assess variety (e.g. “My duties are repetitious” (reverse-scored)). Responses were on a 7-point scale (1 = “Strongly Disagree”). Higher values reflected greater variety. Constraints. We used six items from Peters and O’Connor’s (1980) organisational constraints scale that were relevant to those who worked in a self-employed capacity, and we added a seventh item, “lack of time”. Participants indicated how often they find it difficult or impossible to perform their job because of each constraint using a 7-point scale (i.e. 1 = “Never” to 7 = “Always”). Sample items include “Inadequate equipment or supplies” and “Inadequate help from others”. We summed the items so higher values reflect more frequent constraints. Time Spent on Hobby. We asked respondents to estimate how many hours per week they spent on their hobby before they began their hobby-job and since beginning their hobby-job. They responded using a response scale anchored as follows: 1 = 0hrs, 2 = 1–5hrs, 3 = 6–10hrs, 4 = 11–20hrs, 5 = 21–30hrs, 6 = 31–40hrs, 7 = 41–50hrs, 8 = 51+hrs. We chose these intervals because they allowed us to distinguish between significant differences based on the overall amount of time spent (i.e. small differences make a bigger difference when little time is spent—spending 4 hours is significantly different from spending 8 hours—but larger differences are not significant when spending larger amounts of time—spending 14 versus 18 hours is not likely significant). We subtracted the amount of time spent after beginning the hobby-job from the amount of time spent before beginning the hobby-job. Positive values indicate that less time is spent on the hobby since starting the hobby-job while negative values indicate that more time is spent on the hobby since starting the hobby-job. Hobby/Job Similarity. Perceived similarity between hobby and hobbyjob was measured using two items. We wrote these items using existing scales © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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available in the organisational differences literature as examples. The items used were “In general, doing this activity as a hobby and as a job is similar” and “The way of doing this activity as a job is clearly different from the way I did this activity as a hobby” (reverse-scored). The items used a 7-point response scale (1 = “Strongly Disagree”). Higher values reflect higher perceived similarity. Personality. We used the 10-item version of Goldberg, Johnson, Eber, Hogan, Ashton, Cloninger, and Gough’s (2006) Big Five factor markers in the International Personality Item Pool to measure conscientiousness and emotional stability. Sample items included “Pay attention to details” (conscientiousness) and “Get upset easily” (emotional stability). Participants rated items on a 7-point scale (1 = “Very Inaccurate”). Control Variables. We considered a number of variables as potential controls in each model: hobby-job category, age, gender, tenure in the hobby and tenure in the hobby-job, spontaneity, agreeableness, extraversion, and perceived stress. We felt that each of these may explain variance in the three dimensions of burnout above and beyond the predictors in our study. To determine which control variables to use, we followed Becker’s (2005) recommendations and included only those controls that were significantly associated with the modeled dependent variable. Thus, we included age and gender when examining emotional exhaustion as the dependent variable, we used spontaneity as a control when examining cynicism as the dependent variable, and we included emotional stability and conscientiousness as controls in all models when they were not being examined as a moderator in the model. Further, results showed that two of the four dummy-coded hobby-job category variables each exhibited significant correlations with one of the dependent variables. Thus, we also used hobby-job category–providing professional services when testing models that examined emotional exhaustion and hobby-job category–instructing others when testing models that examined decreased professional efficacy as the dependent variable.

RESULTS Because both the predictors and dependent variables were measured via self-report, we first conducted a series of analyses to determine whether common method variance may have artificially inflated the relationships between predictors and burnout (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003). Specifically, using confirmatory factor analysis, we allowed every item to load on its respective construct and an uncorrelated latent variable (method factor). The variance explained by the method factor was 14 per © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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cent, which is well below the 25 per cent average in published studies (Williams, Cote, & Buckley, 1989). Furthermore, model fit was not significantly improved by adding the latent method factor in the measurement model, reducing our concern about the impact of common method bias on our results. We present descriptive statistics, correlations, and reliability estimates in Table 1. We used a series of regression analyses to test the hypotheses. To begin, we tested Hypotheses 1–4, which stated that four job characteristics (i.e. variety, constraints, time spent on hobby, and hobby/job similarity, respectively) would predict each dimension of burnout (see Table 2). We included control variables and the main effects of internal resources and job demands as predictors. First, variety significantly predicted emotional exhaustion (b = -.25, p < .01), cynicism (b = -.30, p < .01), and decreased professional efficacy (b = -.16, p < .05). Thus, Hypothesis 1 was fully supported. Second, constraints significantly predicted emotional exhaustion (b = .04, p < .01) and cynicism (b = .04, p < .01), but not decreased professional efficacy. Thus, H2a and H2b were supported, and H2c was not. Third, time spent on hobby (b = .15, p < .01) and hobby/job similarity (b = -.09; p < .05) significantly predicted only emotional exhaustion. Therefore, H3a and H4a were supported (H3b–c and H4b–c were not supported). Next, we examined the effects of eight possible personality–demand interactions (H5: four interactions between each job demand and conscientiousness and H6: four interactions between each job demand and emotional stability) on each burnout dimension. We grand-mean centered all variables before creating interaction terms. In each of these 24 models, we included the control variables and the main effects for the job demand and the job resource of interest, along with one interaction term. The results of the significant models are reported in Table 3. To examine the form of each significant interaction, we plotted three slopes for each model (at the mean and ⫾ 1 SD; Dawson & Richter, 2006; Preacher, Curran, & Bauer, 2006). We present those in Figures 1–4. First, time spent on hobby ¥ conscientiousness (b = -.10, p < .05) predicted emotional exhaustion, providing initial support for H5a. The change in R2 for this model was .02, which is considered a mid-range effect size for a personality moderator (Chaplin, 1991). Figure 1 reveals that the positive relationship between time spent on hobby and emotional exhaustion was the strongest among those low in conscientiousness (simple slope: .25, t = 3.28, p < .01), as predicted (remember, positive values indicate less time spent on hobby since starting the hobby-job). In comparison, the relationship was significant but weaker among those with average levels of conscientiousness (simple slope: .15, t = 2.74, p < .01) and nonsignificant among those high in conscientiousness. These relationships supported our propositions for these constructs. © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


Emotional exhaustion Cynicism Decreased professional efficacy Hobby-job: Instructor Hobby-job: Providing services Age Gender Spontaneity Variety Constraints Time spent on hobby Hobby/job similarity Conscientiousness Emotional stability

2.08 1.11

(.85) .51** .06 -.06 .12* -.17* .13* .09 -.23** .30** .13* -.25** -.14* -.25**

Note: Coefficient alphas (a) presented on diagonal. * p < .05; ** p < .01.

Mean Standard Deviation

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

1

2.10 1.22

(.82) .24** -.03 -.06 -.07 .04 .21** -.31** .27** .03 -.08 -.18** -.29**

2

1.95 1.01

(.78) -.14* .08 .002 -.05 .11 -.23** .15* -.11 .04 -.24** -.26**

3

0.09 0.29

– -.33** -.13* .32** .06 .06 -.12 -.09 -.12* .002 .02

4

0.51 0.50

– -.11 .07 -.09 .02 .18** -.06 -.21** .10 -.01

5

47.16 12.32

– -.26** -.02 .12 -.09 .01 .16* -.01 .08

6

8

9

1.31 0.46

2.98 1.04

6.02 0.94

– .15* (.91) .13* -.03 (.70) .07 .09 -.11 -.03 .02 .07 -.13* .07 .06 -.07 -.48** .12 -.17* -.21** .13*

7

11

12

15.70 5.91

0.64 3.80 1.24 1.72

– -.09 – -.14* -.01 (.67) -.23** .04 -.01 -.24** -.01 .09

10

TABLE 1 Descriptive Statistics and Inter-Correlations of Study Variables (N = 271)

5.23 0.97

(.86) .28**

13

5.15 1.21

(.93)

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© 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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TABLE 2 Main Effects of Demands Predicting Three Dimensions of Burnout Independent variable

b

Standard error

b

t

Hobby-job: Services Age Gender Variety Constraints Time spent on hobby Hobby/job similarity Conscientiousness Emotional stability

0.16 -0.004 0.22 -0.25 0.04 0.15 -0.09 -0.06 -0.10

0.12 0.01 0.13 0.07 0.01 0.05 0.04 0.06 0.05

0.07 -0.04 0.10 -0.21 0.21 0.16 -0.15 -0.05 -0.11

1.29 -0.72 1.63 -3.64** 3.55** 2.99** -2.58* -0.92 -1.92

Spontaneity Variety Constraints Time spent on hobby Hobby/job similarity Conscientiousness Emotional stability

0.16 -0.30 0.04 0.07 -0.02 -0.04 -0.17

0.07 0.07 0.01 0.05 0.04 0.08 0.05

0.14 -0.24 0.19 0.07 -0.03 -0.03 -0.18

2.26* -4.22** 3.26** 1.34 -0.51 -0.52 -3.04**

Hobby-job: Instructor Variety Constraints Time spent on hobby Hobby/job similarity Conscientiousness Emotional stability

-0.31 -0.16 0.01 -0.06 0.04 -0.14 -0.15

0.19 0.06 0.01 0.04 0.03 0.06 0.05

-0.09 -0.16 0.08 -0.08 0.08 -0.15 -0.20

-1.62 -2.71* 1.24 -1.34 1.34 -2.46* -3.37**

Dependent variable Emotional Exhaustion

F = 8.83** Adjusted R2 = .21 Cynicism

F = 10.38** Adjusted R2 = .20 Decreased Professional Efficacy

F = 7.19** Adjusted R2 = .14

Note: * p < .05; ** p < .01.

Next, constraints ¥ conscientiousness significantly predicted decreased professional efficacy (H5c; b = .03, p < .01). The change in R2 for this model was .03, a mid-range effect size (Chaplin, 1991). Unexpectedly, a positive relationship emerged between constraints and decreased professional efficacy among individuals with high (simple slope: .05, t = 3.22, p < .01) and average (simple slope: .02, t = 2.00, p < .05) levels of conscientiousness (see Figure 2). It was nonsignificant among those with low levels of conscientiousness. Thus, the direction of the slopes contradicted our proposition for H5c. Providing initial support for H6a, constraints ¥ emotional stability predicted emotional exhaustion (b = -.02, p < .05). The change in R2 for this model was .02, a mid-range effect size (Chaplin, 1991). As expected, Figure 3 reveals a strong positive relationship among those with low (simple slope: .06, t = 4.31, p < .01) and average levels of emotional stability (simple slope: .04, t = 4.00, p < .01). It was nonsignificant among those with high levels of emotional stability. © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


Note: * p < .05; ** p < .01.

F = 10.02** Adjusted R2 = .14; DR2 = .02*

Decreased Professional Efficacy

F = 7.84** Adjusted R2 = .15; DR2 = .02*

Emotional Exhaustion

F = 9.03** Adjusted R2 = .13; DR2 = .03**

Decreased Professional Efficacy

Variety

Constraints

Constraints

Time spent on hobby

Emotional Exhaustion

F = 5.96** Adjusted R2 = .12; DR2 = .02*

Job Demand

Dependent variable

Hobby-job: Instructor Variety (V) Conscientiousness Emotional stability V ¥ Emotional Stability

Hobby-job: Services Age Gender Constraints (C) Conscientiousness Emotional stability C ¥ Emotional stability

Hobby-job: Instructor Constraints (C) Conscientiousness Emotional stability C ¥ Conscientiousness

Hobby-job: Services Age Gender Time spent on hobby (T) Conscientiousness Emotional stability T ¥ Conscientiousness

Independent variable

0.12 0.01 0.14 0.01 0.07 0.05 0.01 0.19 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.05

-0.34 -0.14 -0.15 -0.14 0.13

0.19 0.01 0.06 0.04 0.01

-0.33 0.02 -0.18 -0.14 0.03 0.20 -0.01 0.10 0.04 -0.07 -0.13 -0.02

0.13 0.01 0.14 0.05 0.07 0.05 0.05

Standard error

0.30 -0.01 0.14 0.15 -0.12 -0.17 -0.10

b

TABLE 3 Regression Results: Significant Interactions Predicting Dimensions of Burnout

-0.10 -0.15 -0.16 -0.19 0.15

0.09 -0.10 0.04 0.22 -0.06 -0.15 -0.15

-0.10 0.10 -0.19 -0.18 0.18

0.14 -0.11 0.06 0.17 -0.11 -0.19 -0.12

b

-1.83 -2.56* -2.80* -3.29** 2.60*

1.61 -1.73 0.75 3.55** -1.03 -2.51* -2.72*

-1.74 1.75 -3.13** -3.09** 3.12**

2.43* -1.78 1.01 2.87* -1.77 -3.11** -2.05*

t

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© 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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FIGURE 1.

669

Time Spent on Hobby ¥ Conscientiousness Predicting Exhaustion.

Note: Degrees of freedom = 263. At low levels of conscientiousness, simple slope = .25, t = 3.28**; At average levels of conscientiousness, simple slope = .15, t = 2.74**; At high levels of conscientiousness, simple slope = .05, t = 0.83. * p < .05; ** p < .01.

FIGURE 2. Efficacy.

Constraints ¥ Conscientiousness Predicting Decreased Professional

Note: Degrees of freedom = 263. At low levels of conscientiousness, simple slope = -.01, t = -0.73; At average levels of conscientiousness, simple slope = .02, t = 2.00*; At high levels of conscientiousness, simple slope = .05, t = 3.22**. * p < .05; ** p < .01. © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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FIGURE 3.

Constraints ¥ Emotional Stability Predicting Exhaustion.

Note: Degrees of freedom = 263. At low levels of emotional stability, simple slope = .06, t = 4.31**; At average levels of emotional stability, simple slope = .04, t = 4.00**; At high levels of emotional stability, simple slope = .02, t = 0.96. * p < .05; ** p < .01.

FIGURE 4. Efficacy.

Variety ¥ Emotional Stability Predicting Decreased Professional

Note: Degrees of freedom = 263. At low levels of emotional stability, simple slope = -.32, t = -4.21**; At average levels of emotional stability, simple slope = -.16, t = -2.92**; At high levels of emotional stability, simple slope = -.003, t = -0.03. * p < .05; ** p < .01. © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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Finally, emotional stability significantly moderated the effect of variety on decreased professional efficacy, providing initial support for H6c (b = .13, p < .05; DR2 = .02). Figure 4 suggests that the negative relationship between variety and decreased professional efficacy was strongest among individuals low in emotional stability (simple slope: -.32, t = -4.21, p < .01), slightly weaker among those with average levels of emotional stability (simple slope: -.16, t = -2.92, p < .01), and nonsignificant among individuals with high emotional stability; this was consistent with our expectations for these constructs.

DISCUSSION Leveraging and informing the JD-R model in the context of hobby-jobs, we hypothesised that four job demands would relate to burnout and those effects would be moderated by two personality traits acting as internal resources. Our proposed model was partially supported. Further, our findings extend the JD-R model to include hobby-job-specific factors as job demands. We summarise three key findings below. First, all four job demands (constraints, variety, time spent on hobby, hobby/job similarity) had main effects on various dimensions of burnout. Specifically, variety was related to all three burnout dimensions, whereas constraints were positively associated with emotional exhaustion and cynicism (personality moderated the effects of constraints on professional efficacy as well). The two hobby-job-related stressors (i.e. time spent on hobby, hobby/job similarity) were associated with increased emotional exhaustion only. These findings suggest that just as with traditional jobs, hobby-jobs with less repetition and fewer obstacles hold less potential for burnout. However, those in hobby-jobs should also consider two additional factorsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; time spent on the hobby and similarity of the hobby and hobby-job. Specifically, when individuals in hobby-jobs spend sufficient time on the hobby after beginning the hobby-job and when hobby-job activities are similar to the hobby, exhaustion is less likely to occur. Interestingly, and contrary to our expectations, hobby-job-related stressors (i.e. time spent on hobby, hobby/job similarity) did not relate to cynicism or decreased professional efficacy. These results could be explained by the progression of burnout hypothesis (Leiter & Maslach, 1988). Namely, perhaps these particular demands, because they deal heavily with restoration activities of the individual, only directly affected emotional exhaustion. Individuals who do not engage in the restorative non-work activities they used to (less time spent on hobby) either on or off the job (similarity) may first experience exhaustion. But over time, Leiter and Maslach (1988) suggest that cynicism and professional efficacy may be adversely affected as well. Š 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review Š 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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Second, our results suggest that two personality traits, conceptualised as internal resources, may buffer the detrimental effects of certain job demands on emotional exhaustion and decreased professional efficacy. These findings are congruent with previous literature that has established a relationship between personality variables and burnout (e.g. Zellars, Perrewé, & Hochwarter, 2006), suggesting that personality may indeed act as an internal resource in protecting people against burnout. In our study, we found that high-conscientiousness workers were not likely to experience increased exhaustion even as they spent less time on the hobby purely for intrinsic reasons. In contrast, individuals with low or average levels of conscientiousness were likely to experience increased exhaustion as they spent less time on the hobby. These results suggest that people lacking in focus, planning, rational problem-solving, and achievement orientation (i.e. conscientiousness) may still require the restorative function that the hobby offers, even after starting the hobby-job. In contrast, those high in conscientiousness may be able to stay ahead of the demands that the hobby-job presents, even without the restorative hobby activity. Emotional stability also buffered the detrimental effects of job demands. Specifically, we found a significant interaction for constraints ¥ emotional stability predicting exhaustion and for variety ¥ emotional stability predicting decreased professional efficacy, both in the direction expected. That is, individuals with low levels of emotional stability experienced the largest increase in the exhaustion as constraints increased. In contrast, highemotional stability individuals did not experience a significant increase in exhaustion even when constraints increased. Likewise, individuals with low levels of emotional stability exhibited the strongest negative varietydecreased professional efficacy slope, whereas individuals with high levels of emotional stability were not affected. That is, decreasing variety was most detrimental (in terms of professional efficacy) among individuals with low emotional stability, but individuals with high emotional stability were unaffected. Therefore, these findings also support our contention that the selfassured, stable confidence of high-emotional stability individuals may allow them to effectively manage demands such as job constraints and low variety in hobby-jobs. As a third key finding, we found one significant interaction that did not function as expected—constraints ¥ conscientiousness predicting decreased professional efficacy. Instead of buffering the detrimental effects of constraints, high levels of conscientiousness exacerbated these detrimental effects. Perhaps because individuals with high levels of conscientiousness are so focused on professional achievement, constraints seriously threaten their ego and professional goals. This may be particularly true in a hobby-job, in which individuals strongly identify and invest. When these achievementoriented individuals feel threatened by obstacles in their path, it is perhaps © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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not surprising that their professional efficacy is affected more than those that do not care so much about achievement or who perhaps have not staked their identity on their level of achievement in their hobby-job (i.e. low conscientiousness).

Contributions and Implications Our results have implications for researchers in both the self-employment and burnout literatures. We have shown that hobby-jobs are similar to other jobs in terms of the factors that cause burnout; namely, variety and constraints (Prottas & Thompson, 2006). Furthermore, we introduced two new predictors of burnout that are relevant in hobby-jobs but may also be relevant in other jobs. These two job demands (i.e. time spent on hobby, hobby/job similarity) point to the importance of non-work time and restoring one’s personal well-being through activities that provide intrinsic enjoyment, personal fulfillment, and even growth. These findings suggest that the JD-R model might benefit from including non-work factors when considering job demands. These might function as “indirect” job demands because they are not specific aspects of work but they contribute to well-being at work. Furthermore, overwork may inhibit restoration, which may add to its detrimental effects. Finally, we suggest that the JD-R model may benefit from an increased emphasis on personality traits and other “internal resources”. These are important to understanding which employees might be most susceptible to burnout and how employees can leverage internal strengths or garner other job resources to protect themselves against burnout. In terms of practical implications for people with hobby-jobs, these selfemployed individuals may have specific considerations in avoiding burnout, in addition to the typical recommendations in the literature. Because hobbies likely serve restorative functions, individuals with hobby-jobs should continue using the hobby (or some other hobby) in a restorative way (e.g. by spending personal time doing a restorative, non-work activity). Our findings suggest that restorative activities pursued in non-work time should be protected even when spending significant amounts of time in a new or demanding business venture. In addition, individuals with hobby-jobs should appropriately manage the expectations of the job demands associated with the hobby-job. This is especially true if the hobby-job has little variety, many constraints, if people are likely to spend less time on the hobby after beginning the hobby-job, or if the hobby-job is very different from the hobby. These factors can lead to various aspects of burnout, which may ultimately lead to individuals abandoning the business. To combat these demands, individuals with hobby-jobs should be aware of the resources, personal or otherwise, available to them. This is especially true if individuals pursuing hobby-jobs have low levels of © 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review © 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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conscientiousness or emotional stability. For example, when opening a scrapbook retail store, a scrapbooker might take a course in the retail business, align with free local support resources, or find a mentor.

Limitations This study is not without limitations. Although we used a field sample in the unique setting of hobby-jobs, our data were self-report. However, our common method variance analyses found only 14 per cent of the variance attributable to the method, which is well below the average (Williams et al., 1989). Second, the cross-sectional nature of the data does not allow for causal conclusions. It is possible that people who are burned out in a hobby-job would spend less time on their hobby, rather than the direction we hypothesised. Though we cannot say for certain that job demands and resources do not have cyclical effects on burnout, many of the relationships are supported by longitudinal studies (Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004; Maslach et al., 2001). Additional limitations include the fact that the distribution of hobby-job categories in our sample was imbalanced. This was mainly a result of the fact that we relied on a convenience (i.e. not representative) sample. Because our research was exploratory in nature, we feel that using a convenience sample was appropriate. However, future studies examining individuals with hobbyjobs should strive for more representative samples. Further, we would be remiss not to mention that burnout levels in hobby-jobs may be influenced by customer satisfaction even more than in more typical jobs. Perhaps future research can include this variable in the research models. Lastly, we admit that the measurement of time spent on hobby and hobby/job similarity was not ideal. Due to the novelty of this population, we created measures for the present study and the measurement of these variables could have influenced our results.

Future Directions and Conclusion The individual and organisational costs of burnout combined with the lack of empirical data conducted on individuals with hobby-jobs makes this area rich with research potential. Research would benefit from exploring additional predictors of burnout relevant for hobby-jobs; for example, motives for pursuing the hobby as a job and pre and post levels of intrinsic motivation for individuals making the transition to hobby-jobs. In addition, future research should investigate possible mediators (e.g. perceived stress, nonwork restoration, and social support) and outcomes (e.g. business sustainability) of the relationships examined in the present study. As more people make non-traditional career transitions into self-employed roles, these questions become increasingly critical. Š 2012 The Authors. Applied Psychology: An International Review Š 2012 International Association of Applied Psychology.


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