The role of purpose in life and social support in reducing the risk of workaholism among women in Poland
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Submission date: 2014-12-18
Final revision date: 2015-02-28
Acceptance date: 2015-02-28
Online publication date: 2015-05-05
Publication date: 2015-05-05
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(4):326-335
Workaholism is related to experiencing high negative emotions, the inability to control them, and poor psychological well-being. One of the possible countermeasures against the risk of workaholism can be purpose in life. According to Frankl and Yalom, the feeling that life has a meaning or purpose prevents an individual from experiencing meaninglessness. Purpose in life is considered to be closely associated with mood and well-being and has been proven to act as a countermeasure against depression.

Participants and procedure
The goal of our study was to analyze the relation between workaholism, perception of purpose in life, and social support among women. Two hundred and sixty female professionals took part in the study. They occupied either specialist or managerial positions in their companies, which implies being highly committed to professional roles. Two sociodemographic variables were included in the analysis as significant moderators of the relation studied, namely family status: whether or not women had children, and marital status. We used the following analytical methods: Robinson’s Work Addiction Risk Test (WART, adapted from English by K. Wojdylo), the Purpose-in-Life Test developed by Crumbaugh and Maholick, and Schwarzer’s and Schulz’s Berlin Social Support Scales.

Statistical analysis allowed us to test a model, which proved the existence of a significant relation between “social support” and “purpose in life” variables. The results also indicate a dependency between “purpose in life” and “workaholism” – higher scores in “purpose in life” correspond to lower results in “workaholism”. Additionally, “purpose in life” can be considered a partial mediator between “social support” and “workaholism”.

The direct results prove that social programs aimed at reducing the risk of workaholism by strengthening social support networks can be both effective, e.g. for mothers who work professionally, and ineffective, e.g. for women who do not have children.
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