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Are You a Workaholic?

Norwegian researchers have developed a tool to gauge if you're addicted to work: try it out here.

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Where does work end, and life begin? Photo via

By Fionna Agomuoh

04/24/12

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All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy—or a workaholic. Growing numbers of people are succumbing to workaholism, as technology blurs the boundaries between our working and private lives. According to University of Bergen Psychology professor Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, the effects can include: insomnia, health problems, burnout, stress, and tension in relationships. She and her colleagues have developed a tool to measure workaholism: "The Bergen Work Addiction Scale." In the process they asked 12,135 Norwegian employees from 25 different industries to answer "never, rarely, sometimes, often, or always" to different statements. The scalewhich draws on seven core elements of addiction: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, relapse and problemsis claimed to reliably categorize participants as non-addicted, mildly addicted or workaholic. So has your work ethic crossed the line into addiction?

How often do these statements apply to you?

• 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 deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work.

• You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

If you answer "often" or "always" to four or more of these statements, the scale suggests you may be a workaholic. The Bergen Work Addiction Scale will be used to address workaholism as a global problem, and to research recovery and treatment options. If you find you're addicted to not working, however, you may be on your own. 

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