A tool that measures workaholism has found that 8.3 per cent of the Norwegian work force is addicted to work to the point where it becomes a health issue.
Researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway used the Bergen Work Addiction Scale (BWAS), a workaholism instrument that is based on core symptoms found in more traditional drug addictions; ie, salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, relapse, problems.
It assesses workaholism based on seven criteria. If the person taking the test replies 'often' or 'always' to at least four of these seven criteria, it is some indication that they may be a workaholic.
The seven criteria are: 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 deprioritise hobbies, leisure activities, and/or exercise because of your work and you work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.
Postdoctoral Fellow Cecilie Schou Andreassen and colleagues from the Department of Psychosocial Science used the criteria to assess workaholism in a nationally representative sample.
The study found that 8.3 per cent of all Norwegians are addicted to work. There are, however, no differences between the genders. Both men and women tend to compulsively overwork.
"We did find that younger adults were affected to a greater extent than older workers. However, workaholism seems unrelated to gender, education level, marital status or part-time versus full-time employment," said Andreassen.
Those with caretaker responsibility for children living at home were more likely to be affected than those without children.