The number of studies on work breaks and the importance of this subject is growing rapidly, with research showing that work breaks increase employees’ wellbeing and performance and workplace safety. However, comparing the results of work break research is difficult since the study designs and methods are heterogeneous and there is no standard theoretical model for work breaks. Based on a systematic literature search, this scoping review included a total of 93 studies on experimental work break research conducted over the last 30 years. This scoping review provides a first structured evaluation regarding the underlying theoretical framework, the variables investigated, and the measurement methods applied. Studies using a combination of measurement methods from the categories “self-report measures,” “performance measures,” and “physiological measures” are most common and to be preferred in work break research. This overview supplies important information for ergonomics researchers allowing them to design work break studies with a more structured and stronger theory-based approach. A standard theoretical model for work breaks is needed in order to further increase the comparability of studies in the field of experimental work break research in the future.
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