14 Feb Workaholism, Intensive Smartphone Use, and the Sleep-Wake Cycle
Workaholism is a dysfunctional form of heavy work investment characterised by a set of recurrent behaviours (e.g., working for long hours) and cognitions (e.g., being mentally focused on work activities even when not at work) that have potentially strong negative implications for individual and organisational well-being and vitality.
Firstly, Workaholism was defined as an irresistible or uncontrollable need to work incessantly. However, many years later Schaufeli et al. proposed that workaholism is characterized by two elements:
- Working excessively (exceptional amount of time and energy that workaholics devote to the work activity) and
- work compulsively (a strong and irresistible inner drive to work).
Psychology researchers at the University of Campania and University of Bologna have found that in this era of technology the use of smartphone could worsen the relationship between workaholism and the alteration of the sleep-wake cycle. A study was conducted to test a hypotheses that intensive smartphone use and poor sleep quality mediated the relationship between workaholism and daytime sleepiness, and that smartphone use and daytime sleepiness mediated the relationship between workaholism and poor quality of sleep.
Key findings for this study found that their expectations concerning the hypothesised models were confirmed: On the one hand, both intensive smartphone use and poor sleep quality could have an important role in the way workaholics experience daytime sleepiness, while on the other hand intensive smartphone use and daytime sleepiness mediated the relationship between workaholism and poor sleep quality independently and separately. Intensive smartphone use was directly and significantly connected to both poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness.
The research has highlighted the importance of health professionals asking questions to patients about the sleep–wake cycle, considering that a good sleep-wake pattern influences social functioning and the adoption of healthy behaviours. Also, health professionals should also ask patients questions about the causes of a possible inadequate sleep-wake pattern, including workaholism, stressing the negative impact of excessive work and intensive use of electronic devices on the quality of individual life. Finally, health professionals should determine when referral to a sleep specialist is needed.
- Spagnoli, P., Balducci, C., Fabbri, M., Molinaro, D., & Barbato, G. (2019). Workaholism, Intensive Smartphone Use, and the Sleep-Wake Cycle: A Multiple Mediation Analysis. International Journal of environmental research and public health, 16(19), 3517. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193517