How does workaholism affect worker health and performance? The mediating role of coping

Akihito Shimazu, Wilmar B. Schaufeli, Toon W. Taris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The underlying mechanisms connecting work-aholism on the one hand and ill-health and performance on the other hand have to date hardly been examined empirically. Purpose: The aim was to study the mediating role of coping (i.e., active coping and emotional discharge) in the relationship between workaholism, ill-health (i.e., psychological distress and physical complaints), and job performance. Method: A theory-based model was tested among 757 employees of a Japanese construction machinery company. Results: Workaholism was positively related to active coping, which was, in its turn, negatively associated with ill-health and positively with job performance. Workaholism was also positively related to emotional discharge, which was positively associated with ill-health. In addition, workaholism was positively and directly related to ill-health, whereas it was not significantly related to job performance. Conclusion: Workaholism is associated with both active coping and emotional discharge. Active coping leads to better health and performance, whereas emotional discharge leads to poor health. In addition, workaholism coincides with poor health. Since the costs for workaholics themselves (in terms of ill-health) are high, workaholism has on average adverse effects on health and performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping
  • Job performance
  • Physical complaints
  • Psychological distress
  • Workaholism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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