The assessment of detachment among university students: Validation of the Recovery Experience Questionnaire in educational contexts

Enrique Merino-Tejedor, Pedro M. Hontangas, Joan Boada-Grau


The objective of this study was to adapt and validate the Recovery Experience Questionnaire for use in an educational context. So far, this measure of detachment has mainly been used with workers. The study aimed to verify the factor validity and the criterion-related validity through correlation with self-regulation, engagement, coping strategies, and big-five personality dimensions in a sample of 468 Spanish university students. Several models proposed in the literature have been tested through confirmatory factor analysis. The results obtained confirmed the presence of four factors: psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery and control, as observed in previous studies within a workplace setting. Correlations obtained between these factors and the variables considered verified that detachment is significantly and positively associated with self-regulation, engagement, coping strategies, and certain types of personality; on the other side, detachment is significantly and negatively associated with irritation.


Detachment; Engagement; Irritation; Self-regulation

Full Text:



Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., Oerlemans, W., & Sonnentag, S. (2013). Workaholism and daily recovery: A day reconstruction study of leisure activities. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34, 87–107. doi: 10.1002/job.1796

Baumann, N., Kaschel, R., & Kuhl, J. (2005). Striving for unwanted goals: Stress-dependent discrepancies between explicit and implicit achievement motives reduce subjective well-being and increase psychosomatic symptoms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 781-799. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.89.5.781

Bentler, P.M. (1995). EQS program manual. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software.

Bentler, P. M. (2005). EQS 6.1. for Windows. Structural equations program manual. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software, Inc.

Bollen, K. A., & Long, J. S. (1993). Testing structural equation models. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Byrne, B. M. (2006). Structural equation modeling with EQS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Byrne, B. M. (2008). Testing for multigroup equivalence of a measuring instrument: A walk through the process. Psicothema, 20, 872-882.

Carver, S. S. (1997). You want to measure coping but your protocol’s too long: Consider the Brief COPE. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4(1), 92-100.

Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: A theoretical based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267-283.

Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory and NEO Five-Factor Inventory professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Finney, S. J., & DiStefano, C. (2006). Non-normal and categorical data in structural equation modeling SEM. In G. R. Hancock, & R. O. Mueller (Eds.), Structural Equation Modeling: A second course (pp. 269-314). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Fritz, C., Yankelevich, M., Zarubin, A., & Barger, P. (2010). Happy, healthy and productive: The role of detachment from work during nonwork time. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 977–983. doi: 10.1037/a0019462

Fuhrman, A., & Kuhl, J. (1998). Maintaining a healthy diet: Effects of personality and self-reward versus self-punishment on commitment to and enactment of self-chosen and assigned goals. Psychology and Health, 13, 651-686. doi: 10.1080/08870449808407423

Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1995). Evaluating model fit. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Structural equation modeling: Concepts, issues and applications (pp. 76-99). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cut-off criteria for fit indices in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1-55. doi: 10.1080/10705519909540118

Larson, E. A. (2006). Stress in the live of college women: Lots to do and not much time. Journal of Adolescent Research, 21, 579-606. doi: 10.1177/0743558406293965

Lawrence, J., Ashford, K., & Den, P. (2006). Gender differences in coping strategies of undergraduate students and their impact on self-esteem and attainment. Active Learning in Higher Education, 7, 273-281. doi: 10.1177/1469787406069058

Luszczynska, A., Diehl, M., Gutiérrez-Doña, B., Kuusinen, P., & Schwarzer, R. (2004). Measuring one component of dispositional self-regulation: Attention control in goal pursuit. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(3), 555-566. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2003.09.026

Marsh, H. W., Balla, J. R., & Hau, K. T. (1996). An evaluation of incremental fit indices: A clarification of mathematical and empirical properties. In G. A. Marcoulides & R. E. Schumacker (Eds.), Advanced structural equation modeling: Issues and techniques (pp. 315-353). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Martin, L. L., & Tesser, A. (1996). Some ruminative thoughts. In R. S. Wyer (Ed.), Ruminative thoughts (pp. 1-47). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Merino-Tejedor, E., Boada-Grau, J., Sánchez-García, J. C., & Hontangas-Beltrán, P. M. (2013). The Irritation Scale as an instrument to measure stress among university students. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 16, 1-10. doi: 10.1017/sjp.2013.106

Messick, S. (1995). Validity of psychological assessment: Validation of inferences from persons' responses and performances as scientific inquiry into score meaning. American Psychologist, 50, 741-749. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.50.9.741

Misra, R., & Castillo, L. G. (2004). Academic stress among collage students: comparison of American International Students. International Journal of Stress Management, 11, 132-148. doi: 10.1037/1072-5245.11.2.132

Mohr, G. (1986). Die Erfassung psychischer Befindensbeeinträchtigungen bei Industriearbeitern. Europäische hochschulschriften [The assessment of mental strain of industrial workers]. Frankfurt: Lang.

Mohr, G., Müller, A., Rigotti, T., Aycan, Z., & Tschan, F. (2006). The assessment of psychological strain in work contexts: Concerning the structural equivalency of nine language adaptations of the irritation scale. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 22(3), 198-206. doi: 10.1027/1015-5759.22.3.198

Perczek, R., Carver, C. S., & Price, A. A. (2000). Coping, mood, and aspects of personality in Spanish translation and evidence of convergence with English versions. Journal of Personality Assessment, 74(1), 63-87. doi: 10.1207/S15327752JPA740105

Ragsdale, J. M., Beehr, T. A., Grebner, S., & Han, K. (2011). An integrated model of weekday stress and weekend recovery of students. International Journal of Stress Management, 18(2), 153-180. doi: 10.1037/a0023190

Roger, D., Jarvis, G., & Najarian, B. (1993). Detachment and coping: The construction and validation of a new scale for measuring coping strategies. Personality and Individual Differences, 15, 619-626. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(93)90003-L

Salanova, M., Grau, R., Llorens, S., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). Exposición a las tecnologías de la información, burnout y engagement: el rol modulador de la autoeficacia profesional [Exposure to information technology, burnout and engagement: the role of self-efficacy training]. Revista de Psicología Social Aplicada, 11, 69-90.

Salmela-Aro, K., Kiuru, N., Leskinen, E., & Nurmi, J. E. (2009). School-Burnout Inventory (SBI) – Reliability and validity. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 25, 48–57. doi: 10.1027/1015-5759.25.1.48

Sanz-Vergel, A. I., Sebastián, J., Rodríguez-Muñoz, A., Garrosa, E., Moreno-Jiménez, B., & Sonnentag, S. (2010). Adaptación del “Cuestionario de Experiencias de Recuperación” a una muestra española [Adaptation of the «Recovery Experience Questionnaire» in a Spanish sample]. Psicothema, 22(4), 990-996.

Schaufeli, W. B., Martínez, I., Marqués-Pinto, A., Salanova, M., & Bakker, A. (2002). Burnout and engagement in university students: A cross-national study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Studies, 33, 464-481. doi: 10.1177/0022022102033005003

Schaufeli, W. B., Salanova, M., González-Romá, V., & Bakker, A. B. (2002). The measurment of engagement and burnout: A two sample confirmatory factor analytic approach. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 71-92. doi: 10.1023/A:1015630930326

Schraub, E. M., Turgut, S., Clavairoly, V., & Sonntag, K. (2013). Emotion regulation as a determinant of recovery experiences and well-being: A day-level study. International Journal of Stress Management, 20(4), 309-335. doi: 10.1037/a0034483

Shimazu, A., Matsudaira, K., De Jonge, J., Tosaka, N., Watanabe, K., & Takahashi, M. (2016, in press). Psychological detachment from work during nonwork time: linear or curvilinear relations with mental health and work engagement? Industrial Health. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2015-0097

Sonnentag, S. (2010). Recovery from fatigue: The role of psychological detachment. In P. L. Ackerman (Ed.), Cognitive fatigue: The current status and future for research and application (pp. 253–272). Washington, CD: American Psychological Association. doi: 10.1037/12343-012

Sonnentag, S., & Bayer, U. V. (2005). Switching off mentally: Predictors and consequences of psychological detachment from work during off-job time. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 10(4), 393-414. doi: 10.1037/1076-8998.10.4.393

Sonnentag, S., & Fritz, C. (2007). The Recovery Experience Questionnaire: Development and validation of a measure for assessing recuperation and unwinding from work. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12, 204-221. doi: 10.1037/1076-8998.12.3.204

Sonnentag, S., & Fritz, C. (2014). Recovery form job stress: The stressor-detachment model as an integrative framework. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 36, 72-103. doi: 10.1002/job.1924

Sonnentag, S., & Kühnel, J. (2016, in press). Coming back to work in the morning: Psychological detachment and reattachment as predictors of work engagement. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. doi:10.1037/ocp0000020

Steiger, J. H. (2007). Understanding the limitations of global fit assessment in structural equation modelling. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 893-898. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2006.09.017

Vigil-Colet, A., Morales-Vives, F., Camps, E., Tous, J., y Lorenzo-Seva, U. (2013). Development and validation of the Overall Personality Assessment Scale (OPERAS). Psicothema, 25(1), 100-106. doi: 10.7334/psicothema2011.411



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Murcia (Spain)

Open AccessSello de Calidad FECyT 2013Thomson-Reuters-JCRScielo-Españadoajscimago