Date of Completion


Embargo Period



workaholism, behavioral addictions, work addiction

Major Advisor

Janet Barnes-Farrell

Associate Advisor

Dev Dalal

Associate Advisor

Jennifer Cavallari

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The meaning of the term “workaholism” has evolved in the last 47 years from working long hours to having an uncontrollable compulsion to work. More recent literature argues that workaholism as a construct should be considered an addiction and attempts have been made to measure it as such. Although the current measurement of workaholism as an addiction shows a faithful adherence to the components of addiction, it is still missing a key component of behavioral addictions: impulsivity. The present study examined workaholism in an adapted behavioral addiction framework that includes impulsive behavioral traits and external pressures to engage in overwork. Pilot studies were conducted to (a) develop measures used in the primary study and (b) identify the internal and external motivations behind overwork behaviors. The primary study used a longitudinal design to gather quantitative data to test the hypotheses at three separate time points via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. There were 1,000 participants recruited at Time 1, 560 of those individuals completed Time 2, and 397 individuals completed all three surveys. Compulsive working behaviors predicted overwork over time after accounting for external pressures to engage in overwork. Linear growth curve modeling revealed that individuals classified as workaholics started with more working hours but had a significant decline in the number of working hours over time. When impulsivity was added as a predictor, the results showed that individuals with impulsive behavioral traits who were also classified as workaholics started with fewer hours worked, but hours worked for those individuals significantly increased over time. The interaction of compulsive working behaviors and impulsivity was found to predict positive and negative outcomes including burnout, family disengagement, job performance, extrinsic rewards, social rewards, and intrinsic rewards. Although there were mixed findings for the hypotheses and overwork did not contribute to the model in the expected way, this project shows the importance of including impulsivity in the model of workaholism in an adapted behavioral addiction framework. External pressures similarly did not play an integral role in the model, yet this study demonstrates the importance of identifying and distinguishing between external and internal pressures that influence overwork behaviors.