Test for workaholics developed

New scale to measure work addiction published

A new test to help identify workaholics has been developed, according to research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.

The Bergen Work Addiction Scale (BWAS) consists of seven questions relating to a person’s job which draw on different elements of addiction.

Dr Jenny Leeser, clinical director of occupational health for Bupa Health and Wellbeing, said that although other scales exist to test whether or not someone is a workaholic, this is the first one that looks at workaholism as a form of addiction.

She said: “Traditional tests for workaholism have focused on the way a person behaves, for example working long hours and doing more than is expected of them.

“Looking at workaholism as a type of addiction means that a distinction can be made between people who really enjoy their job and are engaged in it, and those who have an uncontrollable motivation to work that negatively impacts on their life.”

Dr Leeser said the test is still being developed but once it has been completed, it may be a useful tool for identifying those at risk of workaholism so that employers can step in before other health problems develop.

The questionnaire was tested on nearly 12,000 people via an internet survey after watching a TV broadcast about workaholism. A further 368 people filled in a longer survey about working life. This was used to compare the effectiveness of BWAS with other surveys used to test workaholism.

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