London, Nov 26 (IANS) Workaholics are more likely than others to feel sick even when engaged in work they are most passionate about, finds a study.
The study led by a team of Italian researchers from universities of Trento and Bologna involved 139 full-time workers, mostly employed in back-office activities.
A psychological test was first used to assess the participants’ level of work dependency.
Afterward, the scholars analysed the mood of the workers and their perception of workload using a technique known as the “experience sampling method”.
Their results, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, showed that most workaholic workers have, on average, a worse mood than the others.
The researchers said that contrary to popular notion, people who are addicted to work do not derive more pleasure from their work activity.
Workaholism also shares similarities with other addictions, such as gambling or alcoholism.
“The results seem to confirm that, as in other forms of behavioural and substance addiction, the initial euphoria gives way to a negative emotional state that pervades the person even while at work,” said Cristian Balducci, a professor at the Department for Life Quality Studies at the University of Bologna (Rimini Campus).
“The negative mood observed in workaholics may indicate elevated daily stress levels and that could be the cause of the higher risk for these individuals to develop burnout and cardiovascular problems,” he added.
In addition, the results demonstrated that, unlike other workers, workaholics, on average, consistently maintain a more negative mood throughout the day, with no significant variations attributed to the passage of time or fluctuations in workload.
The relationship between work addiction and bad mood was, in fact, more pronounced in women than in men, indicating a greater vulnerability of women to workaholism. Researchers suggest that this phenomenon may depend on an increased role conflict experienced by workaholic women, caught between the internal tendency to over-invest in their work and the external pressures stemming from gender expectations still deeply rooted in our culture. “Furthermore, considering that workaholics often hold positions of responsibility, their negative mood could readily influence that of colleagues and co-workers. This poses a risk that organisations should seriously consider, intervening to discourage behaviours that contribute to workaholism,” added Balducci.