Emotional resources link work demands and experiences to family functioning and employee well-being: the emotional resource possession scale (ERPS)

Remus Ilies, Huirong Ju, Yukun Liu, Zen Goh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Work-family research predominantly focused on role incompatibilities with theorizing often rooted in resource depletion mechanisms derived from Conservation of Resources (COR) theory. However, researchers have largely neglected resource accumulation processes also part of COR, due to the lack of appropriate conceptualization and operationalization of resource possession. To address this deficiency, we propose that emotional resource accumulation, as a COR mechanism, is distinct from emotional resource depletion in explaining work-family linkages; to enable empirical tests of this mechanism, we develop the Emotional Resource Possession Scale (ERPS), at both state and trait levels. We describe four studies demonstrating that the ERPS has discriminant validity against emotional exhaustion and emotional energy, and differential relationships with positive and negative affect. Our results show that resource-generating (work engagement and co-worker support) and resource-depleting (quantitative job demands and emotional labour) constructs have differential associations with the ERPS (and also with emotional exhaustion). Finally, our findings show that the ERPS has incremental validity, over and above emotional exhaustion, in predicting family performance and life satisfaction. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of considering resource depletion and accumulation as distinct processes, and assessing them as such, for theory on work and family and on employee well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-449
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Emotional resources
  • well-being
  • work-family balance

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