Workaholism linked to negative mood and emotional flatness

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A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, led by Professor Cristian Balducci from the University of Bologna, reveals that individuals with work addiction, or workaholism, tend to have a consistently negative mood, even when engaged in their work.

Work addiction is characterized by excessive and compulsive working habits that negatively impact health, well-being, and social relationships.

Workaholics often experience feelings like hostility, anxiety, and guilt when unable to work as much as they desire.

Despite earlier beliefs that workaholics might find joy in their work, this study indicates that their overall mood is worse compared to others, even during work hours.

Study Methodology and Findings

The study involved 139 full-time workers, primarily in back-office roles. Initially, a psychological test assessed participants’ levels of work dependency.

The research then utilized the “experience sampling method,” where short questionnaires were sent via an app to participants’ phones every 90 minutes during work hours, over three days.

Key findings

Workaholics generally have a worse mood than non-workaholics.

Contrary to previous assumptions, workaholics do not derive more pleasure from their work; instead, they experience a persistent negative emotional state.

Workaholics show a notable emotional flatness throughout the day, with limited mood variations in response to time or workload changes, a common trait in various addictions.

Gender Differences in Workaholism

The study also highlighted gender differences, with female workaholics showing a stronger link between work addiction and negative mood, possibly due to increased role conflict and societal gender expectations.

The Dangers of Work Addiction

Workaholism poses significant risks, potentially leading to severe physical and psychological issues, including “overwork illnesses” that can be fatal.

The study emphasizes the importance of organizations fostering a work environment that discourages excessive work investment and promotes disconnection and recovery.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The research concludes that organizations should avoid cultivating a work culture that normalizes overworking.

Instead, they should encourage policies and training that promote healthy work-life balance and support interventions to mitigate the negative effects of workaholism. This approach is crucial for the well-being of employees and the overall health of the organization.

If you care about mental health, please read studies about Frequent painkiller use linked to mental health risks in these people and findings of Common depression drugs may offer new treatment for bipolar disorder.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent about why pizza is a very addictive food, and MIND diet could improve cognitive health in older people.

The research findings can be found in Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

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