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Workaholic? A new scale can confirm it

Apr 25th, 2012
Staff writer / LifeApps Media

If you’re spending too little time on the links and too much in the office, a new scientifically tested measure might confirm whether you are indeed addicted to work.

Researchers in the United Kingdom and Norway devised the work addiction measure because more people seem to be driven to work obsessively, said one of the authors of the study, Cecilie Schou Andreassen, of the University of Bergen psychology department.

The scale, described this week in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, is thought to be the first of its kind, the authors said. It was created based on data from more than 12,000 workers in 25 different industries. The scale reflects the seven core elements of addiction: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, relapse and problems.

The results show the scale as reliably differentiating between workaholics and non-workaholics, Andreassen said. By testing themselves with the scale, people can find out their degree of work addiction: non-addicted, mildly addicted or workaholic.

For example, workers are asked about the seven core elements of addiction by answering: (1) Never, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Always:

  • 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 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 de-prioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work.
  • You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

Scoring of "often" or "always" on at least four of the seven items may suggest that you are a workaholic.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons