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Workaholism: The addiction of this century
Date:8/14/2014

In spite of the many positive aspects of work, some people are unable to detach from it working excessively and compulsively. These are called workaholics.

Postdoctoral Fellow Cecilie Schou Andreassen and colleagues from the Department of Psychosocial Science at the University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway has been the first to assess workaholism in a nationally representative sample.

According to Schou Andreassen, the "workaholism" concept has been studied by scholars for nearly 45 years. Still, reliable statistics on the prevalence of workaholism is hard to find. The research field primarily relies upon poor measures used in small non-representative samples from the United States.

Measuring work addiction

Schou Andreassen is no stranger to this type of research, having previously developed an instrument to measure work addiction called the Bergen Work Addiction Scale (BWAS). The BWAS is the first workaholism instrument that is based on core symptoms found in more traditional drug addictions; i.e., salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, relapse, problems.

Schou Andreassen and her research team have developed seven criteria to measure work addiction:

  • You think of how you can free up more time to work.
  • You spend much more time working than initially intended.
  • You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and/or depression.
  • You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
  • You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
  • You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and/or exercise because of your work.
  • You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

"If you reply 'often' or 'always' to at least four of these seven criteria, there is some indication that you may be a workaholic," says Schou Andreassen. "This is the first scale to use core symptoms of addict
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Contact: Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen
cecilie.andreassen@psych.uib.no
47-480-41699
The University of Bergen
Source:Eurekalert

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