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To Hangover or Not: Trajectories of Job Satisfaction in Adolescent Workforce Newcomers

Andreas Hirschi

Valero, D., & Hirschi, A. (2019). To hangover or not: Trajectories of job satisfaction in adolescent workforce newcomers. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 28(2), 150-163. doi:10.1080/1359432X.2018.1564278


The development of job satisfaction during the first months on the job often indicates ahoneymoon hangover, with high levels of job satisfaction gradually declining. This effect is often explained by disappointed expectations that are informed by previous job experiences. However, research has not established whether a hangover pattern could also be observed in individuals without previous work experience. We explored the development of job satisfaction with four assessment points across the first four months after starting vocational training among 357 Swiss adolescents. On average, a hangover pattern in job satisfaction was confirmed. Using person-centred growth mixture modelling, we identified two groups with distinct trajectories. Although a majority showed a hangover pattern, a third of participants showed stable, high job satisfaction. We presumed that adolescents with more contextual and personal resources (i.e., perceived social support, occupational self-efficacy, core self-evaluations, and perceived person–job fit) would be more likely to avoid a hangover pattern. Results confirmed that the two groups differed significantly in all these resources with the high stable satisfaction group showing higher resources. The results illustrate the importance of a diverse set of resources to facilitate a positive trajectory of job satisfaction at the beginning of work life.

Keywords: job satisfaction, newcomer socialization, growth mixture model, vocational training, social cognitive career theory; conservation of resources