Employee psychological well‐being during the COVID‐19 pandemic in Germany: A longitudinal study of demands, resources, and exhaustion

Bertolt Meyer, Alexander Zill, Dominik Dilba, Rebecca Gerlach, Susen Schumann
Published Online:
21 Feb 2021
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 56 Issue 4

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Many governments react to the current coronavirus/COVID‐19 pandemic by restricting daily (work) life. On the basis of theories from occupational health, we propose that the duration of the pandemic, its demands (e.g., having to work from home, closing of childcare facilities, job insecurity, work‐privacy conflicts, privacy‐work conflicts) and personal‐ and job‐related resources (co‐worker social support, job autonomy, partner support and corona self‐efficacy) interact in their effect on employee exhaustion. We test the hypotheses with a three‐wave sample of German employees during the pandemic from April to June 2020 (Nw1 = 2900, Nw12 = 1237, Nw123 = 789). Our findings show a curvilinear effect of pandemic duration on working women's exhaustion. The data also show that the introduction and the easing of lockdown measures affect exhaustion, and that women with children who work from home while childcare is unavailable are especially exhausted. Job autonomy and partner support mitigated some of these effects. In sum, women's psychological health was more strongly affected by the pandemic than men's. We discuss implications for occupational health theories and that interventions targeted at mitigating the psychological consequences of the COVID‐19 pandemic should target women specifically.

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