How Does Workaholism Affect Worker Health and Performance? The Mediating Role of Coping

  • Akihito ShimazuEmail author
  • Wilmar B. Schaufeli
  • Toon W. Taris



The underlying mechanisms connecting workaholism on the one hand and ill-health and performance on the other hand have to date hardly been examined empirically.


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.


A theory-based model was tested among 757 employees of a Japanese construction machinery company.


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.


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.


Workaholism Coping Psychological distress Physical complaints Job performance 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akihito Shimazu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wilmar B. Schaufeli
    • 2
  • Toon W. Taris
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mental Health, Graduate School of MedicineThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Social and Organizational PsychologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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