Working with a chronic health condition: The implications of proactive vitality management for occupational health and performance

Emma M. Op den Kamp, Arnold B. Bakker, Maria Tims, Evangelia Demerouti, Jimmy J. de Wijs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Employees with a chronic disease are confronted with health problems, pain, and a limited energy reserve, which may hinder their day-to-day functioning at work. In the current study, we use proactive motivation and job demands-resources (JD-R) theories to hypothesize that chronically ill individuals may optimize their own well-being and work performance by using proactive vitality management (PVM). In Study 1, we tested our hypotheses through multigroup comparative analyses among a mixed sample of both healthy and chronically ill employees who participated in a weekly, three-wave study (T1 N = 399, M age = 45.18 (SD = 13.13), 48 % female). In Study 2, employees with a chronic liver disease were followed over the course of 2,5 years and filled out surveys at three points in time (T1 N = 192, M age = 48.73 (SD = 10.75), 72 % female). Findings from both studies were in line with our hypotheses. More specifically, consistent with JD-R theory's health impairment hypothesis, results showed that exhaustion mediated the relation between PVM and (a) functional limitations and (b) absenteeism. Consistent with JD-R's motivational hypothesis, work engagement mediated the relation between PVM and (a) creative work performance and (b) absenteeism. In addition, results of moderated mediation analyses indicated that these indirect effects were stronger for chronically ill employees with more (vs. less) self-insight – i.e., a developed understanding of one's own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. These findings contribute to JD-R and proactive motivation theories and suggest that PVM is an important behavioral strategy that may protect chronically ill employees' occupational health and promote their performance, especially when combined with self-insight.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103987
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Absenteeism
  • Chronic disease
  • Creative work performance
  • JD-R theory
  • Proactive vitality management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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