First Ever Instrument to Measure Work Addiction Launched

By Sharon Moore on April 24, 2012

After a thorough research, experts from Norway and United Kingdom were able to develop a new method to measure one’s addiction to work. They call it Bergen Work Addiction Scale.

Being the first method as of today in the entire world, the Bergen Work Addiction Scale aims to help individuals and professionals in measuring whether a person is addicted to work or not. Several studies in the past have linked work addiction to various health problems like insomnia, stress, and burnout. The team, lead by Doctor Cecilie Schou Andreassen, a clinical psychologist in private practice and a psychology professor at the University of Bergen, based the instrument on the core elements of addiction which are used in diagnosing some other kinds of addictions.

At present, many people become more and more preoccupied with their work life. Seeing how the boundaries have reduced between private and work life as the new technology arrives, Dr Andreassen has witnessed the increase in work addiction. Being very much familiar with the real-life implications of work addiction, she was motivated to develop a method that can help in diagnosing this specific type of addiction.  According to Dr Andreassen, by testing themselves using the scale, individuals can measure the level of their addiction to work which is categorised into three – non-addicted, mildly addicted, and workaholic.

What Constitute the Scale?

The Bergen Work Addiction Scale makes use of 7 criteria in determining one’s level of addiction to work – mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, salience, relapse, and problems that the employee or worker experiences. The test involves questions like how they can free up more time for work, how much time they need in the actual work than what they initially intended, and the like. It also sets to weigh how they prioritise work over their hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise; and how their work has negatively influenced their health. All items were scored using the following scales – Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, and Always. Choosing “often" or "always" on most items is a manifestation that a person is workaholic.

During the trial, 12,135 Norwegian employees from various industries took the test. Researchers found that the scale was successful in determining workaholics from non-workaholics. Furthermore, Dr Andreassen explained that the scale may add value to the work addiction research and practice. It can be very helpful in administering treatments and in measuring the prevalence of work addiction all over the world.

The Bergen Work Addiction Scale has been presented in an article published recently in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.

 

Sources of this article:

Andreassen, C. S., Griffiths, M. D., Hetland, J. & Pallesen, S. (2012). Development of a work addiction scale. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-04-method-addiction.html

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