MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Working overtime may cost you your health, according to a Kansas State University doctoral researcher.
Sarah Asebedo, doctoral student in personal financial planning and conflict resolution, Edina, Minn., conducted a study using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. She and her colleagues -- Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies and human services and director of the university's personal financial planning program, and Jamie Blue, doctoral student in personal financial planning, Tallahassee, Fla. -- found a preliminary link between workaholics and reduced physical and mental well-being. The study, "Workaholism and Well-Being," will appear in Financial Services Review, a journal of individual financial management.
"We looked at the association between workaholism and physical and mental well-being," Asebedo said. "We found workaholics -- defined by those working more than 50 hours per week -- were more likely to have reduced physical well-being, measured by skipped meals. Also, we found that workaholism was associated with reduced mental well-being as measured by a self-reported depression score."
The link between workaholism and well-being has been assumed for years; however, there was a lack of research supporting the link until this study, Asebedo said. To understand why people work overtime even when they know it is not good for their well-being, the researchers used Gary S. Becker's Theory of the Allocation of Time, a mathematical analysis for choice measuring the cost of time.
"It looks at the cost of time as if it were a market good," Asebedo said. "This theory suggests that the more money you make, the more likely you are to work more. If you are not engaged in work-related activities, then there is a cost to the alternative way in which time is spent. Even if you understand the negative consequences to workaholism, you may still be likely to continue working because th
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Kansas State University