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Work Addiction

Researchers Develop Work Addiction Self Test

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posted 11:34 AM EST, Wed April 25, 2012

Has anyone ever told you that you need to cut down on the time you spend at work? Does your work negatively affect your health and do you get stressed if you can’t work as much as you ‘need’ to? Find out more about work addiction and take a self test to see if you might have a problem with compulsive working.

After testing the measurement on over 12 000 Norwegian employees from 25 different industries, researchers of that country say they’ve developed a very quick scale test which reliably categorizes people into 3 categories: work addicted, mildly work addicted and not work addicted, and which tests for 7 key features of addiction:

  1. Mood and modification
  2. Tolerance to the effects of excessive working (needing to do more and more to feel satisfied)
  3. Withdrawal (feeling withdrawal symptoms when you can’t work or can’t work as much as you’d like to)
  4. Salience
  5. Conflict
  6. Relapse
  7. Degree of problems in life stemming from excessive work

Doctor Cecilie Schou Andreassen of The University of Bergen led the addiction scale development team. Commenting on the need for a reliable test for work addiction she noted that workaholism is associated with insomnia, burnout, family conflict and a general increase in physical health problems. She further noted that, “In the wake of globalisation, new technology and blurred boundaries between work and private life, we are witnessing an increase in work addiction.”

Ready to test yourself?

The Bergen Work Addiction Scale

Answer the following 7 questions with one of:

  • Never
  • Rarely
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always
  1. You think of how you can free up more time to work.
  2. You spend much more time working than initially intended.
  3. You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.
  4. You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
  5. You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
  6. You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work.
  7. You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

Answering often or always to 4 or more of the preceding questions indicates that you may be work addicted.

Read more about the Bergen Work Addiction Scale in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.

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Story Highlights
  • Work Addiction: Excessive time spent at work leads to consequences such as insomnia, ill health and family conflict
  • Signs of Work Addiction: According to the Bergen Work Addiction Scale some signs of a problem include compromising your health for your work and feeling anxious when you can't work as much as you'd like to.
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