Sleep quality and self-control capacity as protective resources in the daily emotional labor process: results from two diary studies

Stefan Diestel, Wladislaw Rivkin, Klaus-Helmut Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Daily emotional labor can impair psychological well-being, especially when emotions have to be displayed that are not truly felt. To explain these deleterious effects of emotional labor, scholars have theorized that emotional labor can put high demands on self-control and diminishes limited regulatory resources. On the basis of this notion, we examined 2 moderators of the daily emotional labor process, namely day-specific sleep quality and individual self-control capacity. In particular, in 2 diary studies (NTOTAL = 171), we tested whether sleep quality moderates the influence of emotional dissonance (the perceived discrepancy between felt and required emotions) on daily psychological well-being (ego depletion, need for recovery, and work engagement). In addition, we examined 3-way interactions of self-control capacity, sleep quality, and emotional dissonance on indicators of day-specific psychological well-being (Study 2). Our results indicate that the negative relations of day-specific emotional dissonance to all day-specific indicators of well-being are attenuated as a function of increasing day-specific sleep quality and that self-control capacity moderates this interaction. Specifically, compared with low self-control capacity, the day-specific interaction of emotional dissonance and sleep quality was more pronounced when trait self-control was high. For those with low trait self-control, day-specific sleep quality did not attenuate the negative relations of emotional dissonance to day-specific well-being. Implications for research on emotional labor and for intervention programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-827
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Control
  • Sleep
  • Workplace
  • Journal Article

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    Wladislaw Rivkin

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