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Gender in Management: An International Journal

Workaholism, work stress, work-life imbalance: exploring gender's role


Shahnaz Aziz Jamie Cunningham

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Shahnaz Aziz Jamie Cunningham, (2008),"Workaholism, work stress, work-life imbalance: exploring
gender's role", Gender in Management: An International Journal, Vol. 23 Iss 8 pp. 553 - 566
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Workaholism, work stress,


work-life imbalance: exploring
genders role
Shahnaz Aziz and Jamie Cunningham
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East Carolina University, Greenville,


North Carolina, USA

Workaholism

553
Received 27 May 2008
Revised 18 July 2008
Accepted 28 July 2008

Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine potential differences between male and female
workaholics in relation to work stress and work-life imbalance; also to test for gender as a moderator
in the relation between workaholism with work stress and work-life imbalance.
Design/methodology/approach An exploratory approach was used to examine employees on
workaholism, work stress, and work-life imbalance. A separate variances t-test tested gender
differences in the study variables. Hierarchical regression analyses tested the potential moderator
effect of gender on the work stress-workaholism and work-life imbalance-workaholism relations.
Findings It was found that work stress and work-life imbalance correlated with workaholism,
regardless of gender. Gender did not moderate the relations between workaholism with work stress
and work-life imbalance.
Research limitations/implications Limited generalizability between cultures was a limitation;
future research should collect data from diverse races. Reliance on self-report measures is another
limitation; a more accurate picture could be attained by gathering data from other sources.
Practical implications There is some support to the notion that the once traditional roles of men
and women may not predominate in todays workforce; women may be taking a more career-minded
view, while men are becoming more family-oriented. Thus, it is imperative that intervention programs
focus on decreasing workaholism in both men and women. Also, such interventions as on-site
childcare, flexible work time, and telecommuting should be included.
Originality/value The data were analyzed with a composite variable to capture workaholism in a
continuous fashion. Unlike the traditional median split technique, with the composite approach, one is
able to use data from all participants who are not missing data.
Keywords Gender, Workaholism, Stress, Hours of work, Job satisfaction
Paper type Research paper

Introduction
Over the course of more than three decades, workaholism has become a well-known
term used to describe individuals who are addicted to work. The term has grown in
familiarity and has been used progressively more often in the media, on the internet,
and in the empirical literature since Oates (1971) first created the term workaholic to
describe a person whose enhanced necessity to work impedes multiple life functions
(Bonebright et al., 2000; Porter, 2001). As cited in Langan-Fox et al. (2007) by Burke and
McAteer (2007), it has been assumed that advances in technology and flexible work
schedules lead to a reduction in hours worked. However, working time varies by
gender, race, occupation, and time period. In North America, particularly amongst
highly educated individuals and professionals, there has been a rise in hours worked

Gender in Management: An
International Journal
Vol. 23 No. 8, 2008
pp. 553-566
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1754-2413
DOI 10.1108/17542410810912681

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554

(and overtime) due to increased responsibilities and heavier workloads, thereby


leading to higher levels of stress.
Workaholism can hinder interpersonal relationships and lead to marital
dissatisfaction. Carroll et al. (2002) found that women married to workaholics
reported higher marital estrangement and fewer positive feelings toward their
husbands. Similarly, Porter (2001) found that the spouses of workaholics felt ignored,
unloved, and emotionally/physically abandoned. Furthermore, workaholism can be
counterproductive through a decline in either the quality of performance or quantity of
productivity (Garson, 2005). Results consistently find that workaholics have difficultly
delegating tasks, and, with a high level of perfectionism, have unrealistic expectations
(Porter, 1996; Seybold and Salomone, 1994. Additionally, workaholism is associated
with adverse physiological and psychological health outcomes (Worrall et al., 2000),
enhanced fatigue (Rosa, 1995), and burnout (Barnett et al., 1999).
Workaholics, especially managers, exhibit behavioral tendencies that can influence
others in the organization, such as always checking on their employees performance
(Graves et al., 2006). Some components of workaholism are related to organizational
deviance (Galperin and Burke, 2006). Galperin and Burke found that employees with a
high work drive were more likely to be involved in destructive deviant acts toward
coworkers (e.g. public embarrassment). Coworkers may avoid workaholics due to
conflicting interactions; even worse, interactions with workaholics, especially
managers, can create a ripple effect, spreading the same behavior tendencies
throughout the organization (Graves et al., 2006; Seybold and Salomone, 1994).
Although workaholism has become a colloquial term, theorists have called for more
scientific research on this very important concept. In fact, some researchers suggest
that it important to explore potential gender differences in future studies of
workaholism (Harpaz and Snir, 2003). The importance of gender roles in shaping work
patterns and behaviors has been underestimated. Therefore, the current study sought
to determine whether gender really matters in the realm of workaholism and to
investigate the relations between workaholism, work stress, and work-life imbalance in
terms of gender.
Workaholism: definitions
In the past, individuals who committed long hours to work were labeled as
workaholics. Douglas and Morris (2006) argue that workaholics are motivated to work
long hours by work per se. Although work hours used to be a way of measuring
workaholism, the field has moved beyond this perspective. Hours spent on
work-related activities is not a perfect indicator in itself, although it remains a
correlate of workaholism.
Spence and Robbins (1992) measure is the most widely applied self-report
assessment of workaholism (Porter, 1996). Based on a random sample of social
workers, they construed workaholism as a situationally induced behavioral pattern
comprised of excessive work involvement, high work drive, and low work enjoyment.
Work involvement is the degree to which a person is constructive in using his or her
time (both on and off the job), and how committed the individual is to being productive
at work. Work drive is a reflection of the persons internal motivation to work. Work
enjoyment is the extent to which the person gains a sense of emotional satisfaction
from work.

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Spence and Robbins (1992) measure has been frequently used in psychological
research to examine the relationship between workaholism components and
personality factors (Burke et al., 2006), workplace deviance (Galperin and Burke,
2006), and organizational climate (work pressure, co-worker cohesion; Johnstone and
Johnston, 2005). The psychometric properties of the Spence and Robbins measure have
demonstrated acceptable levels of internal consistency reliability and show factor
structures that support their three facets (Burke et al., 2002). A study by Buelens and
Poelmans (2004) found the validity of the Spence and Robbins typology to be similar to
past studies in terms of basic dimensions. To the authors knowledge, previous
workaholism studies have not simply asked participants the extent to which they
consider themselves to be workaholics. Similarly, the current study opted against
using such a straightforward approach to measure workaholism. Given the
widespread use of and statistical support for Spence and Robbins measure, it is the
one of workaholism that is used in the current study.
Workaholism and potential gender differences
Few empirical studies have attempted to relate workaholism and gender. Of the seven
behavioral and demographic variables (e.g. gender and occupation type), examined by
Harpaz and Snir (2003), gender was found to be the strongest predictor of total hours
worked per week, whereby work was defined as paid employment. Harpaz and Snir
found workaholism, which they equated with hours worked per week, was more
prevalent in men. According to Bielby and Bielby (1989), centuries of gender
discrimination and cultural learning have shaped role identifications (men closely
relate to work and women to family); therefore, men might be more likely to work more
hours and engage in workaholism.
Spence and Robbins (1992) found women to be significantly more likely to feel
driven to work, to have more work enjoyment, to experience more work stress, and to
allocate more time to the job. Their findings suggest that women have a greater
tendency to show at least some characteristics of workaholism, perhaps owing to the
more competitive work environment and the higher expectations placed upon them in
order to succeed in the workplace.
Recently, gender has been considered in a handful of workaholism studies.
Although they have not foregrounded their gender results, authors such as Burgess
et al. (2006), and Russo and Waters (2006) found that if a relationship does exist
between gender and workaholism, it may be weak at best. Burke (1999) investigated
gender differences in workaholism and related variables and found no significant
gender differences when he controlled for age, year MBA was received, marital status,
and number of children; both men and women were similar in their distribution among
Spence and Robbins facets. Burke addressed the ways in which men and women
express workaholism within the workplace. A man could be seen as a good provider
for his family when he works more than the weekly required hours on the job, whereas
a woman who works the same amount of time could be construed in a negative manner
(e.g. she is neglecting her family).
In sum, the results of the few empirical studies have been mixed. Some research has
indicated that gender is independent of workaholism, while other studies suggest that
gender is related to workaholism, in which it is uncertain if women have more
workaholic characteristics than men (or vice versa).

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Reasons for gender differences


Work-life imbalance. Over the past decade, there has been a surge of definitions proposed
by researchers for work-family balance (Clark, 2000; Kirchmeyer, 2000; Marks and
MacDermid, 1996). Clark perceived it as satisfaction and effective functioning at both
work and home, with minimal role conflict. Similarly, Kirchmeyer viewed it as the even
distribution of time, energy, and commitment across all life domains in order to attain
satisfaction with these domains. Marks and MacDermid suggested that work-family
balance reflects how an individual orients him/herself across various roles in life. Based
on the aforementioned perspectives, Greenhaus et al. (2003) recently defined
work-family balance as, the extent to which an individual is equally engaged in
and equally satisfied with his or her work role and family role (p. 513).
All of these definitions share the notion that balance reflects equal experiences in
both work and family roles. By focusing on family as the prominent aspect of life in the
non-work domain, one fails to consider other aspects of non-work life (e.g. household
responsibilities, personal interests). Therefore, Fisher (2001) developed a broader term
called work-life balance, in which imbalance refers to an occupational stressor based
on lost resources of time (e.g. amount of time spent at work relative to time spent in
non-work activities), energy (e.g. not having energy available to pursue non-work
activities after a full-days work), and feelings toward work and personal life. The
current study will use the term work-life imbalance in place of work-family imbalance.
Associated with more women in the workforce is a rise in work-life imbalance as
individuals try to conduct multiple roles, all involving a great deal of time, energy, and
commitment (Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). Kaufman and Uhlenberg (2000)
investigated potential gender differences in work-family roles and parental attitudes.
In sum, a greater involvement within a parental role over a work role tends to decrease
the amount of hours worked per week for both men and women (Kaufman and
Uhlenberg, 2000).
In conjunction with the traditional attitudes of parenthood, men are classified as
good-providers when they are the sole or primary providers of monetary income.
This is an encouragement for men to work more hours than they would have done
before children were a factor (Kaufman and Uhlenberg, 2000). Another view concerns
the new fatherhood, that is, men and women share work and family responsibilities,
which decreases the amount of time allocated to the work role (Harpaz and Snir, 2003).
It seems that work-family roles are changing for both men and women.
Higgins et al. (1994) found that women with children experienced higher levels of
work-life imbalance than did men when their children were younger (less than 12 years
old), yet had similar levels of work-life imbalance when their children were older
(at least 13 years old). Higgins et al. attributed the results to a lack of perceived control
by women who had younger children in terms allocating their time between work and
family roles. Researchers have generally found that women experience greater
amounts of work-life imbalance (not to be confused with work-family conflict) than
men (Duxbury and Higgins, 1991; Voydanoff, 1998).
Work stress. Jex et al. (1992) examined how survey respondents interpreted
occupational stress items. They found that participants typically interpreted stress to
reflect the following two components: Strains (i.e. responses to the work environment)
and stressors (i.e. characteristics of the actual work environment). That is, survey
respondents interpreted stress as being related to both strains and stressors. With that

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said, the word stress is used in the current study to refer to an interaction of strains and
stressors.
Studies that have explored the relation between workaholism and stress have
concluded that workaholics experience greater stress and stress-related illnesses
(e.g. chronic fatigue, anxiety) than non-workaholics (Burke and MacDermid, 1999).
Competition for work has often been cited as a source of work stress (Seybold and
Salomone, 1994). Machlowitz (1980) deemed the work competition between genders to
be a stimulant for success, which in turn promotes workaholism. Note that although
seniority is not a variable investigated in the current study, researchers (Lovelace et al.,
2007) have indeed found it to be a positive correlate of work stress.
Workaholism has also been linked to well-being related issues (Burke, 2000). In a
comparison of health measures, Spence and Robbins (1992) found both men and
women who were classified as workaholics reported significantly more health
problems than did non-workaholics. They attributed these results to higher levels of
work stress and the inner pressures and drive for these individuals to work. From this
perspective, workaholics (regardless of gender) are more prone to health problems as a
result of greater levels of work stress, although women experience significantly higher
levels of work stress than men (Spence and Robbins, 1992). Similarly, Burke (1999)
reiterates the notion that women report more work stress, which may reflect role
overload and work-life imbalance.
Gender as a potential moderator
To date, no research has been conducted on the potential role of gender as a moderator
in the relations between workaholism, work stress, and work-life imbalance. However,
interactions can occur when multidimensional constructs are examined. For instance,
as a moderator, the relation between workaholism and work-life imbalance can still
exist, even in the absence of gender. Gender merely influences the relation between
workaholism and work-life imbalance.
Current study
The study sought to determine whether gender really matters in the realm of
workaholism, and further examined the relations between workaholism, work stress,
and work-life imbalance in terms of gender. Existing studies in the area of work-family
roles suggest that female workaholics experience greater levels of work stress and
work-life imbalance than do men. On the other hand, men seem to be more prone to
workaholism than do women. The study also moved beyond past research by testing
for gender as a potential moderator in the relation between work stress and work-life
imbalance with workaholism. The latter is an area of exploratory research given that
the possibility of gender as a moderator has not been pursued in studies of
workaholism; therefore, specific a priori predictions were not made. In sum:
H1. Work stress will positively correlate with workaholism.
H2. Work-life imbalance will positively correlate with workaholism.
H3. Men will score higher than women on workaholism.
H4. Women workaholics will score higher than men on work stress and work-life
imbalance.

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H5. Gender will moderate the relation between work stress and workaholism.
H6. Gender will moderate the relation between work-life imbalance and
workaholism.
Method
Participants
White collar professionals are typically associated with workaholism. Porter (2006)
found that some managers represent the archetypal workaholic. Therefore, the sample
consisted of 199 full-time employees (54 percent women and 46 percent men) who had
been in their current position for at least six months. Data was collected in the summer
of 2006, and the research carried over into the following year. Employees worked in a
wide range of organizations (e.g. consulting firms, hospitals, and universities) located
in the southeastern US. The sample consisted of 87 percent European Americans,
6 percent African Americans, 3 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders, 3 percent Latin
Americans, and 1 percent Native Americans. The average age bracket of the
participants was between 31 and 35 years old. Most of the participants (58 percent)
were married and 54 percent had children.
Procedure
Some of the previous workaholism research focused on specific populations consisting
of college students and members of Workaholics Anonymous (McMillan et al., 2001).
Unfortunately, this limits the ability to generalize results. Therefore, current study data
were collected from 199 women and men employed in companies in the Southeastern
US. The companies constituted a variety of industries (e.g. consulting firms, hospitals,
and universities). Participation was understood as voluntary in nature and informed
consent was required.
Participants were asked to complete a survey on various dimensions of their work
and non-work lives. Surveys were sent via mail and participants were asked to return
them in a pre-addressed stamped envelope. Survey completion required no more than
20 min and all data remained anonymous and confidential. Of the original 300 surveys
that were mailed out, 203 were returned to the investigators. Of the 203 completed
surveys, four were discarded due to participants failure to respond to items; 199
surveys provided usable information, yielding a response rate of 66 percent.
Measures
Workaholism. Spence and Robbins (1992) 25-item measure was used to assess work
involvement, work drive, and work enjoyment. Each item is assessed on a five-point
response format ranging from very untrue of me to very true of me. High scores
indicate being high on work involvement, work drive, and work enjoyment. The
Cronbach alphas, as reported by Spence and Robbins, for the three facets were as
follows: 0.67 for work involvement, 0.80 for work drive, and 0.88 for work enjoyment.
Similarly, for the current study, the Cronbachs alphas were 0.72 for work involvement,
0.82 for work drive, and 0.88 for work enjoyment.
Work stress. The 16-item Stress In General (SIG) scale developed by Stanton et al.
(2001) was used to measure work stress. Higher scores indicate higher levels of overall
work stress. Previous studies have found the internal consistency of the SIG to be 0.86
(Aziz and Zickar, 2006). The current study obtained a Cronbachs alpha of 0.92.

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Work-life balance. Fishers (2001) 15-item scale was used to assess work-life balance.
The work-life balance measure asks questions about time spent both at work and at
leisure, allocation of work and personal activities, and feelings toward work and
personal life. Respondents were asked to indicate the frequency with which they felt a
particular way during the last three months using a six-point response scale ranging
from not at all to almost all the time. Note that 6 not applicable and was
accordingly coded as a missing value. A high score represents greater work-life
imbalance. In their study, Aziz and Zickar found the internal consistency of work-life
imbalance to be 0.89. The current study found a Cronbachs alpha of 0.92.
Results
Dichotomizing continuous variables by median splits is now known to be very poor
practice (Irwin and McClelland, 2003; MacCallum et al., 2002), but how can one avoid
median splits when studying types which are defined in terms of median splits? Our
workaholism composite is a new way to capture the essence of Spence and Robbins
(1992) conceptualization of workaholism in variables that can be analyzed more
powerfully, that is, without performing the median split technique. Therefore, to
capture the essence of Spence and Robbins notion of workaholism, a continuously
distributed variate was created. The data were analyzed with a composite variable to
capture workaholism in a continuous fashion. Unlike the traditional median split
technique, with the composite approach, one is able to use data from all participants
who are not missing data. For the workaholism composite, the three input variables are
standardized work involvement, standardized work drive, and standardized work
enjoyment. The authors decided to apply such an approach (i.e. create a continuously
distributed construct) in that it could make for a much stronger, unique contribution
given that nobody else has used such a technique.
A composite score for workaholism was computed by adding standardized work
involvement scores to standardized work drive scores, followed by subtracting those
scores from standardized work enjoyment scores (workaholism composite Zwork
involvement Zwork drive 2 Zwork enjoyment). High scores represent being a
workaholic. Note that work enjoyment should not be construed as the opposite of
workaholism; work enjoyment is still a dimension of workaholism, but now it is treated
as a continuous variable.
Table I presents the correlations and descriptive statistics. Positive correlations
were found among all three of Spence and Robbins (1992) workaholism facets. The
workaholism facets were also significantly correlated with the workaholism composite.
Positive correlations were also found between work stress and work-life imbalance
with the workaholism facets and the workaholism composite. Hours worked per week
were positively correlated with all the variables.
After statistically controlling for the effects of age, relationship status, years in
relationship, and children, regression findings showed support for H1 in that high
work stress was associated with workaholism (b 0.25). Work stress had a
significant ( p , 0.001) partial effect in the model, accounting for 12 percent of the
variance in workaholism, F(5, 197) 5.22, p , 0.001. Similarly, H2 was supported in
that high work-life imbalance was associated with workaholism (b 0.43). Work-life
imbalance had a significant ( p , 0.001) partial effect in the model, accounting for 24
percent of the variance in workaholism, F(5, 197) 12.15, p , 0.001.

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Table I.
Correlations and
descriptive statistics

Variable

Stress

WLIB

Stress
0.92
WLIB
0.51 * *
0.92
HPW
0.42 * *
0.36 * *
WINV
0.14 *
0.23 * *
WDRV
0.19 * *
0.36 * *
WENJ
20.08
2 0.13
Workaholism composite
0.24 * *
0.44 * *
M
23.42
2.69
SD
14.71
0.80
Range
0-48
1.1-4.8

HPW

WINV

WDRV

WENJ

Workaholism
composite

0.33 * * 0.72
0.20 * * 0.49 * * 0.82
0.24 * * 0.29 * * 0.33 * *
0.88
0.18 *
0.73 * * 0.70 * * 2 0.23 *
0.87
3.43
24.18
23.74
31.87
0.0021
1.90
5.10
5.75
7.01
1.66

11-37
7-35
15-48 24.36 to 4.24

Notes: Entries on main diagonal are Cronbachs a. WLIB, work-life imbalance; WINV, work
involvement; WDRV, work drive; WENJ, work enjoyment; HPW, hour per week. HPW was measured
on a seven-point scale, where 1 35 h or less, 2 36-40 h, 3 41-45 h, 4 46-50 h, 5 51-55 h,
6 56-60 h, 7 more than 60 h. *p , 0.05, * *p , 0.001

In light of the unequal sample sizes between genders, a separate variances t-test was
adopted for the next two hypotheses, all using a .05 criterion for statistical significance
(Zimmerman, 1996). Note that H3 tested all participants, whereas H4 tested only
those individuals who were classified as workaholics, as determined by the composite
approach (N 129). Contrary to H3, the t-test showed that men (M 2 0.04,
SD 1.74) and women (M 0.02, SD 1.63) did not significantly differ on
workaholism, t(114) 2 0.24, p 0.81.
Contrary to H4, men (M 26.00, SD 13.61) and women (M 26.17, SD 15.83)
did not significantly differ on work stress, t(45) 2 0.04, p 0.97. Ignoring gender;
however, there was a small but significant correlation between work stress and
workaholism, r 0.24, p 0.001. Similarly, men (M 2.98, SD 0.65) and women
(M 3.03, SD 0.84) did not differ significantly on work-life imbalance,
t(50) 2 0.24, p 0.81. Ignoring gender; however, there was a significant
correlation between work-life imbalance and workaholism, r 0.44, p 0.001.
Hierarchical regression analyses tested the potential moderator effect of gender on
the work stress-workaholism (H5) and work-life imbalance-workaholism (H6)
relations. The interactive term was entered last into the regression equation to
assess its incremental contribution to workaholism, beyond that of work stress (or
work-life imbalance) and gender.
A simultaneous test of slope and intercept indicated that the regression lines did not
significantly differ between men and women, F(1, 190) 0.10, p 0.75 (Table II). The
slope for predicting work stress from workaholism did not differ significantly between
men and women, t(190) 0.32, p 0.75. The intercept also did not significantly differ
between the genders, t(190) 0.41, p 0.68. Contrary to H5, gender did not moderate
the relation between work stress and workaholism.
A simultaneous test of slope and intercept indicated that the regression lines did not
significantly differ between men and women, F(1, 190) 0.34, p 0.56 (Table III). The
slope for predicting work-life imbalance from workaholism did not differ significantly
between the genders, t(190) 0.58, p 0.56. The intercept also did not differ

Step

Predictors

Age
Relationship status
Years in relationship
Children
Age
Relationship status
Years in relationship
Children
Work stress
Age
Relationship status
Years in relationship
Children
Work stress
Gender
Age
Relationship status
Years in relationship
Children
Work stress
Gender
Work stress gender interaction

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b
20.23
20.12
0.01
20.39 * *
20.27 *
20.14
0.02
20.37 * *
0.25 * *
20.27 *
20.15
0.01
20.38 * *
0.25 * *
0.02
20.27 *
20.14
0.02
20.38 * *
0.33 *
0.05
20.09
Total R 2

DR 2

Workaholism

0.061 *

561
0.059 * *

0.00

0.00
0.121

Notes: DR 2 for demographics is equal to the initial R 2, whereas DR 2 for work stress is the increment
in R 2 after adding it to the demographics. *p , 0.05, * *p , 0.001

significantly between men and women, t(190) 0.71, p 0.48. Contrary to H6, gender
did not moderate the relation between work-life imbalance and workaholism.
Discussion
The current study moved beyond past research in several ways. First, gender, an
important construct that has been, until recently, limited in the workaholism literature,
was incorporated. Second, no studies have tested if gender moderates the relations
that workaholism correlates (e.g. work stress) have with workaholism; hence, this
domain was further explored. Third, a composite approach was used to capture the
essence of workaholism in a continuous fashion.
The absence of gender differences among workaholics with respect to work stress
could relate to the fact that men and women are similar in their workaholism levels.
Given that work stress is a correlate of workaholism, perhaps these participants were
already workaholics and hence equally stressed out at work. Similarly, there were no
gender differences in terms of work-life imbalance. Perhaps, more women have entered
the workforce and are moving away from the traditional role of caregiver to one of a
career-oriented caregiver. This trend could also be attributed to the more recent
addition of family management facilities (e.g. childcare services, time management
courses) that some organizations provide. Russo and Waters (2006) found that
work-family conflict declined when enthusiastic workaholics (individuals high on

Table II.
Testing gender as a
moderator in the work
stress-workaholism
relation

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Step

Predictors

Age
Relationship status
Years in relationship
Children
Age
Relationship status
Years in relationship
Children
Work-life imbalance
Age
Relationship status
Years in relationship
Children
Work-life imbalance
Gender
Age
Relationship status
Years in relationship
Children
Work-life imbalance
Gender
Work-life imbalance gender interaction

Table III.
Testing gender as a
moderator in the
work-life
imbalance-workaholism
relation

b
2 0.23
2 0.12
0.01
2 0.39 * *
2 0.26 *
2 0.08
0.03
2 0.34 * *
0.43 * *
2 0.25 *
2 0.09
0.03
2 0.35 * *
0.43 * *
0.04
2 0.26 *
2 0.09
0.03
2 0.35 * *
0.59 *
0.18
2 0.21
Total R 2

DR 2

0.061 *

0.179 * *

0.001

0.001
0.243

Notes: DR 2 for demographics is equal to the initial R 2, whereas DR 2 for work-life imbalance is the
increment in R 2 after adding it to the demographics. *p , 0.05, * *p , 0.001

work involvement, work drive, and work enjoyment) had access to flexible work
schedules.
Although role conflict may continue to be an issue, the roles of women appear to be
changing, which could influence the amount of work-life imbalance (and work stress)
that is experienced. Likewise, the traditional role of the male breadwinner could be
changing to a non-traditional role in which the caregiving role is split between genders.
It appears that dual-income fathers are spending more time on childcare, indicating a
shift in values with husbands being more involved in family as their wives go to work.
Findings revealed that gender did not moderate the relation between workaholism
with work stress and work-life imbalance. Gender differences might be outdated in that
gender roles and identity have shifted considerably in the past several years; perhaps
gender does not influence the relations between work stress, work-life imbalance, and
workaholism. A major drawback to testing for moderators; however, is that it requires
statistical power. Owing to the possibility of limited power, caution must be taken
before making conclusions regarding the absence of causal relations. It has been
argued that moderated regression analyses require greater power than is usually
obtain in concurrent field research. In fact, Aquinis and Stone-Romero (1997) showed
that it is not likely that one will detect any moderators in this type of research. This is
an argument that has been used for increasing p to 0.10 when detecting for the presence
of moderator effects in field research. In the current study; however, increasing the
p-level to 0.10 did not change the results.

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Limitations and future research


One of the limitations pertains to the limited generalizability between cultures given
that most respondents were Caucasian. Future research should collect data from
diverse races to explore whether the lack of gender differences in workaholism prevail
across cultures. Additionally, the current study was the first to explore potential
individual difference moderators (gender) in the relation between workaholism and
important work outcomes. Future research could examine if there is a temporal
ordering among workaholism correlates and investigate the processes that link
workaholism to important work outcomes.
Reliance on self-report measures is another limitation. Individuals often hold
inaccurate opinions of themselves, which may produce erroneous results when they
report on workaholism, work stress, and/or work-life imbalance (Spector, 1994). While
self-report data are irreplaceable as a means of collecting information on how people
perceive themselves, a more accurate picture could be attained by gathering data from
coworkers, supervisors, peers, and even close friends or family members (Aziz and
Zickar, 2006). For example, in their study on workaholism as a syndrome, Aziz and
Zickar collected data from other sources (e.g. friend and coworker) in addition to
workaholics themselves.
Because perceptions of psychological constructs lie in the eye of the beholder, the
hypotheses were most appropriately assessed by asking employees to indicate their
own attitudes. Although common method bias may have resulted from a
cross-sectional, self-report research design, using acquaintance ratings alleviates
many of the problems that occur from relying on a single data source. Moreover, given
the self-report nature of the study, causal inferences were not made. Spector (2006)
advices replacing the term common method variance with an emphasis on
measurement bias that occurs from the interaction of constructs and assessment
methods. Future studies should use longitudinal research to enhance our
understanding of how workaholism develops or changes overtime.
Conclusions and implications
The studys goal was to determine whether gender had significant effects on
workaholism and related constructs. Findings revealed that work stress and work-life
imbalance correlate with workaholism, regardless of gender. Additionally, gender was
not found to moderate the relations between workaholism with work stress and
work-life imbalance. In addition to supporting the research of Burgess et al. (2006) and
Russo and Waters (2006), the current study findings also suggest that workaholism,
work stress, and work-life imbalance are no longer gender-dependent in that, compared
to the past, men and women are currently equal in these areas. For example, men might
be equally likely to experience work-life imbalance given that they are now spending
more time fulfilling responsibilities at home.
Given that gender did not serve as a moderator, the results provide some support to
the notion that the once traditional roles of men (e.g. primary breadwinner) and women
(e.g. primary caregiver) may not predominate in todays workforce. Perhaps, the role of
women may be taking a turn into a more career-minded view, while the role of men is
becoming more family-oriented. Therefore, it is imperative that programs designed to
alleviate work stress and work-life imbalance focus on decreasing workaholic
tendencies in both men and women. Mental health practitioners, counselors, and

Workaholism

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supervisors who seek to reduce decrease work stress, work-life imbalance, and the
often deleterious effects of workaholism, should include such interventions as on-site
childcare centers, flexible work time, and telecommuting. Moreover, the demographics
(e.g. age and children) of their clients should be considered prior to selecting an
intervention program. In sum, organizations could benefit a great deal by
implementing interventions aimed to assist men and women deal with workaholism,
work stress, and the struggles of balancing work and personal life. For example,
supervisors could reprioritize work objectives and modify work schedules to help
reduce workaholic behaviors in their employees. Additionally, the organizational
climate could be improved by focusing on the significance of work-life balance.
Furthermore, stress and time management programs could be implemented to reduce
workaholism.
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Corresponding author
Shahnaz Aziz can be contacted at: azizs@ecu.edu

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