Can dealing with emotional exhaustion lead to enhanced happiness? The roles of planning and social support

Carlos Ferreira Peralta, Maria Francisca Saldanha

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10 Citations (Scopus)
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Drawing upon the sustainable happiness model (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005), we examine boundary conditions to the detrimental effect of emotional exhaustion on happiness. We posit that perceiving low supervisor support enhances the employee’s engagement in the development of an action plan, which, when paired with an active search for instrumental social support, boosts happiness. Drawing on three distinct samples from participants working in diverse occupations (81 Portugal-based team leaders working under direct supervision; 177 US-based supervised full-time workers and 242 US-based employees working full-time and under direct supervision), we found that perceived supervisor support (PSS) moderated the emotional exhaustion-planning association, whereas searching for instrumental social support moderated the planning-happiness relationship. We also found that the indirect effect of emotional exhaustion on happiness, via planning, was positive and significant only when employees perceived low supervisor support and searched highly for instrumental social support. We conclude that under some conditions, the process of dealing with emotional exhaustion can enhance happiness. Implications for research on happiness, coping and social support are discussed, as well as implications for practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-144
Number of pages24
JournalWork & Stress
Issue number2
Early online date12 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Happiness
  • Perceived supervisor support
  • Planning
  • Searching for instrumental social support

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