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Abstract

Purpose

Despite increasing empirical research into workaholism, no single definition or conceptualisation has emerged, and current understandings of workaholism are arguably problematic. The primary purpose of this paper is to clarify some of these issues, by defining and contextualising over-engagement in work that leads to severe negative consequences (i.e., workaholism) as a genuine behavioural addiction.

Approach

By conceptualising work behaviours as manifestations of behavioural engagement and placing them on a continuum from withdrawal/under-engagement (e.g., persistent absenteeism) to over-engagement (e.g., work conflicting with all other activity), this paper argues that workaholism is an extreme negative aspect of behavioural engagement. It then examines the extent to which workaholism can be viewed as a genuine addiction by using criteria applied to other more traditional behavioural addictions (e.g., gambling addiction, exercise addiction), before briefly outlining an approach towards a more global understanding of workaholism.

Findings

The framework presented here helps to contextualise over-engagement to work as a genuine addiction. It presents more comprehensive understanding of workaholism that takes into account the individual factors of the employee, situational factors of the working environment, and structural factors of the work activity itself. It provides theoretically derived links between workaholism and other work behaviours that can be empirically demonstrated.

Practical implications

Viewing workaholism as an addiction that comprises extreme and prolonged behavioural over-engagement can be invaluable for promoting healthy work engagement. A clearer understanding of the underpinnings of workaholism can allow for a better assessment and management by practitioners.

Originality/value

This paper is one the first to contextualise workaholism in relation to other work behaviours, conceptualise it as a genuine behavioural addiction, and to apply clinical criteria for addiction to understand workaholism as prolonged and extreme behavioural engagement.

Open access

Background and aims

Research has shown that personality traits play an important role in problematic internet use (PIU). However, the relationship between dark personality traits (i.e., Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, sadism, and spitefulness) and PIU has yet to be investigated. Consequently, the objectives of this study were to investigate the relationships of dark traits with specific online activities (i.e., social media, gaming, gambling, shopping, and sex) and PIU.

Methods

A total of 772 university students completed a self-report survey, including the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen Scale, Short Sadistic Impulse Scale, Spitefulness Scale, and an adapted version of the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.

Results

Hierarchical regression analysis and a multiple mediation model indicated that being male was positively associated with higher online gaming, online sex, and online gambling, and negatively associated with social media and online shopping. Narcissism was related to higher social media use; Machiavellianism was related to higher online gaming, online sex, and online gambling; sadism was related to online sex; and spitefulness was associated with online sex, online gambling, and online shopping. Finally, Machiavellianism and spitefulness were directly and indirectly associated with PIU via online gambling, online gaming, and online shopping, and narcissism was indirectly associated with PIU through social media use.

Discussion

Findings of this preliminary study show that individuals high in dark personality traits may be more vulnerable in developing problematic online use and that further research is warranted to examine the associations of dark personality traits with specific types of problematic online activities.

Open access

Background

Compulsive Internet use (CIU) refers to those individuals who experience a loss of control regarding their online use. Although suffered by a minority, a much larger proportion of adults report to be experiencing early signs of CIU, which can become more problematic if sustained over time, especially when used as a coping mechanism for stress. Since compulsive behaviors are characterized by executing behaviors on “automatic pilot,” mindfulness techniques, which help individuals relate more consciously with their environment, could help develop a more adaptive relationship with technology. However, mindfulness interventions are often lengthy hence not ideal for busy individuals with early signs of CIU.

Aims

This study tested the effectiveness of a brief mindfulness intervention (10 min a day for 2 weeks) to reduce CIU and anxiety and depression symptoms, in relation to an equivalent length classic arousal descending technique (i.e., gradual-muscle-relaxation), and a wait-list control group.

Methods

A randomized controlled trial (RCT) was used with assessments at pre- and post-phases. Participants showing initial signs of CIU were allocated to a mindfulness-group (n = 343), gradual-relaxation (n = 301), or a wait-list control group (n = 350).

Results

The mindfulness and gradual-muscle-relaxation participants were equally effective in reducing anxiety and depression. The mindfulness intervention was more effective reducing CIU symptoms.

Discussion

Given the large sample sizes of this RCT, these results are promising, although follow-up studies are needed. Considering health hazards of the “always-on-culture” and the popularity of bite-sized learning, the effectiveness of easy-to fit-in daily life health practices is a positive development.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Dr. Mark D. Griffiths
and
Attila Szabo PhD

Abstract

Aims

The purpose of the study was to seek a better insight into whether the online medium or the online activity was more important in relation to excessive online use. It is not clear whether those people who spend excessive amounts of time on the Internet are engaged in general Internet or whether excessive Internet use is linked to specific activities.

Methods

Perceived changes in Internet use habits as function of hypothetical accessibility of favorite sites were investigated in young adults. University students (n = 130, mean age = 20.6 years) who had (on average) spent over 20 hours a week on the Internet for at least nine years completed a survey. The most favored online activities and expected quality of life without Internet access were also investigated.

Results

Findings revealed that social networking was by far the most popular online activity, and that lack of access to their preferred online activities would drop by 65% (as measured by perceived Internet usage). Approximately one in six participants (16%) claimed they would not even switch on the computer if access to their favorite online activities were unavailable. In relation to a hypothetical question about the quality of life without Internet access, the responses were normally distributed (rather than skewed).

Conclusions

These results show that time spent with Internet activity is not random and/or generalized, but appears more focused. Attraction or addiction on Internet to one or more specific behavior(s) may be a better way forward in the quest for better understanding excessive human behavior in the online environment.

Open access

Background and aims

Over the last decade, worldwide smartphone usage has greatly increased. Alongside this growth, research on the influence of smartphones on human behavior has also increased. However, a growing number of studies have shown that excessive use of smartphones can lead to detrimental consequences in a minority of individuals. This study examines the psychological aspects of smartphone use particularly in relation to problematic use, narcissism, anxiety, and personality factors.

Methods

A sample of 640 smartphone users ranging from 13 to 69 years of age (mean = 24.89 years, SD = 8.54) provided complete responses to an online survey including modified DSM-5 criteria of Internet Gaming Disorder to assess problematic smartphone use, the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, and the Ten-Item Personality Inventory.

Results

The results demonstrated significant relationships between problematic smartphone use and anxiety, conscientiousness, openness, emotional stability, the amount of time spent on smartphones, and age. The results also demonstrated that conscientiousness, emotional stability, and age were independent predictors of problematic smartphone use.

Conclusion

The findings demonstrate that problematic smartphone use is associated with various personality factors and contributes to further understanding the psychology of smartphone behavior and associations with excessive use of smartphones.

Open access

Background and aims

Recent research suggests that youth problem gambling is associated with several factors, but little is known how these factors might influence or interact each other in predicting this behavior. Consequently, this is the first study to examine the mediation effect of coping styles in the relationship between attachment to parental figures and problem gambling.

Methods

A total of 988 adolescents and emerging adults were recruited to participate. The first set of analyses tested the adequacy of a model comprising biological, cognitive, and family variables in predicting youth problem gambling. The second set of analyses explored the relationship between family and individual variables in problem gambling behavior.

Results

The results of the first set of analyses demonstrated that the individual factors of gender, cognitive distortions, and coping styles showed a significant predictive effect on youth problematic gambling, and the family factors of attachment and family structure did not reveal a significant influence on this behavior. The results of the second set of analyses demonstrated that the attachment dimension of angry distress exerted a more indirect influence on problematic gambling, through emotion-focused coping style.

Discussion

This study revealed that some family variables can have a more indirect effect on youth gambling behavior and provided some insights in how some factors interact in predicting problem gambling.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that youth gambling is a multifaceted phenomenon, and that the indirect effects of family variables are important in estimating the complex social forces that might influence adolescent decisions to gamble.

Open access

Background

Smartphone use has increased greatly at a time when concerns about society’s disconnection from nature have also markedly increased. Recent research has also indicated that smartphone use can be problematic for a small minority of individuals.

Methods

In this study, associations between problematic smartphone use (PSU), nature connectedness, and anxiety were investigated using a cross-sectional design (n = 244).

Results

Associations between PSU and both nature connectedness and anxiety were confirmed. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to identify threshold values on the Problematic Smartphone Use Scale (PSUS) at which strong associations with anxiety and nature connectedness occur. The area under the curve was calculated and positive likelihood ratios used as a diagnostic parameter to identify optimal cut-off for PSU. These provided good diagnostic ability for nature connectedness, but poor and non-significant results for anxiety. ROC analysis showed the optimal PSUS threshold for high nature connectedness to be 15.5 (sensitivity: 58.3%; specificity: 78.6%) in response to an LR+ of 2.88.

Conclusions

The results demonstrate the potential utility for the PSUS as a diagnostic tool, with a level of smartphone use that users may perceive as non-problematic being a significant cut-off in terms of achieving beneficial levels of nature connectedness. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Open access

Background

To inform clinical treatment and preventative efforts, there is an important need to understand the pathways to late-life gambling disorder.

Aims

This study assesses the association between age-related physical health, social networks, and problem gambling in adults aged over 65 years and assesses the mediating role of affective disorders in this association.

Methods

The sample comprised 595 older adults (mean age: 74.4 years, range: 65–94 years; 77.1% female) who were interviewed using a structured questionnaire to assess physical frailty, geriatric pain, loneliness, geriatric depression, geriatric anxiety, and problem gambling.

Results

Pathway analysis demonstrated associations between these variables and gambling problems, providing a good fit for the data, but that critically these relationships were mediated by both anxiety and depression symptoms.

Conclusions

This study indicates that late-life problem gambling may develop as vulnerable individuals gamble to escape anxiety and depression consequent to deteriorating physical well-being and social support. When individuals develop late-life problem gambling, it is recommended that the treatment primarily focuses upon targeting and replacing avoidant coping approaches.

Open access