Workaholism, sleep disorders, and potential e-learning impacts among Menoufia university staff during COVID–19 pandemic

  • Heba Khodary Allam
    Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Egypt.
  • Mai Salah Helmy
    Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, Menoufia University, Egypt.
  • Aziza Saad ElBadry
    Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Egypt.
  • Faten Ezzelarab Younis
    Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Egypt.


Background: Workaholism is described as a constant, internal drive to work and behavioral addiction to work. Studies have shown the negative associations between workaholism, job performance, and health results as disrupted sleep. The purpose of this research was to compare the prevalence of workaholics among the academic staff of practical and theoretical Faculties in Egyptian universities using the Dutch Workaholism Scale (DUWAS) and to determine associated sleep problems. Also, it studied the added impact of E-learning on the prevalence of workaholism frequency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Design and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 336 participants. Work addiction was assessed using DUWAS (17 items) as well as questionnaires on personal, occupational characteristics, and sleep problems. DUWAS scale was repeated after six months during COVID 19 pandemic to investigate the impact of E-learning on the workaholic behavior of the studied groups.
Results: Our study revealed that the prevalence of workaholism was 33 percent. 32.8% and 33.7% were listed for the faculties of Medicine and Arts, respectively. After the COVID-19 pandemic, workaholic frequency was significantly increased to be 46.4%. Adjusted logistic regression analysis showed that workaholism had negatively impacted sleep in terms of difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and insufficient sleep.
Conclusion: The prevalence of workaholism appears to be high among university staff members especially after COVID-19 crisis. Sleep problems were linked to workaholics more than other workers. We recommend encouraging employees to work to their contracted hours, as excess work over extended periods may have adverse effects not only on organizational productivity but also on their health.


Oates WE. On being a “Workaholic.” Pastoral Psychol 1968;19:16–20. DOI:

Oates WE. Confessions of a workaholic: The facts about work addiction. New York: World Pub. Co; 1971.

Snir R, Harpaz I. The workaholism phenomenon: a cross‐national perspective. Career Dev Int 2006;11:374–93. DOI:

Snir R, Zohar D. Workaholism as discretionary time investment at work: An experience-sampling study. Appl Psychol 2008;57:109–27. DOI:

Ravoux H, Pereira B, Brousse G, et al. Work addiction test questionnaire to assess workaholism: Validation of French version. JMIR Ment Health 2018;5:e12. DOI:

Clark MA, Michel JS, Zhdanova L, et al. All work and no play? A meta-analytic examination of the correlates and outcomes of workaholism. J Manage 2016;42:1836–73. DOI:

Mazzetti G, Schaufeli WB, Guglielmi D. Are workaholism and work engagement in the eye of the beholder? Eur J Psychol Assess 2018;34:30–40. DOI:

Schaufeli WB, Shimazu A, Taris TW. Being driven to work excessively hard. Cross-Cultural Res 2009;43:320–48. DOI:

Schaufeli WB, Bakker AB, Salanova M. The measurement of work engagement with a short questionnaire. Educ Psychol Meas 2006;66:701–16. DOI:

Andreassen CS, Griffiths MD, Hetland J, et al. The prevalence of workaholism: A survey study in a nationally representative sample of Norwegian employees. PLoS One 2014;9:e102446. DOI:

Andreassen CS, Griffiths MD, Hetland J, Pallesen S. Development of a work addiction scale. Scand J Psychol 2012;53:265–72. DOI:

Shimazu A, Schaufeli WB, Kamiyama K, Kawakami N. Workaholism vs. Work engagement: the two different predictors of future well-being and performance. Int J Behav Med 2014;22:18–23. DOI:

Shimazu A, Schaufeli Wb. Is workaholism good or bad for employee well-being? The distinctiveness of workaholism and work engagement among Japanese employees. Ind Health 2009;47:495–502. DOI:

Nakata A, Haratani T, Kawakami N, et al. Sleep problems in white-collar male workers in an electric equipment manufacturing company in Japan. Ind Health 2000;38:62–8. DOI:

Doi Y. An epidemiologic review on occupational sleep research among Japanese workers. Ind Health 2005;43:3–10. DOI:

Remuzzi A, Remuzzi G. COVID-19 and Italy: what next? Lancet 2020;395:1225–8. DOI:

Moore JL, Dickson-Deane C, Galyen K. E-learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same? Internet High Educ 2011;14:129–35. DOI:

Abbas Z, Umer M, Odeh M, et al. A semantic grid-based e-learning framework (SELF).. Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Cluster Computing and the Grid, 2005. DOI:

Panahi P, Borna F. Distance learning: Challenges, new solution. Proceedings of the 37th International Convention on Information and Communication Technology, Electronics and Microelectronics (MIPRO). IEEE; 2014. DOI:

Basilaia G. Replacing the classic learning form at universities as an immediate response to the COVID-19 virus infection in Georgia. Int J Res Appl Sci Eng Technol 2020;8:101–8. DOI:

Musleh Al-Sartawi AMA. E-learning improves accounting education: Case of the higher education sector of Bahrain. In: Themistocleous M., Papadaki M., Kamal M.M. (eds) Information Systems. EMCIS 2020. Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, vol 402. Cham: Springer; 2020. p. 301-15. DOI:

Ayebi-Arthur K. E-learning, resilience and change in higher education: Helping a university cope after a natural disaster. E-Learning Digit Media 2017;14:259–74. DOI:

Dhawan S. Online learning: A panacea in the time of COVID-19 crisis. J Educ Technol Syst 2020;49:5–22. DOI:

Thulin E, Vilhelmson B, Johansson M. New telework, time pressure, and time use control in everyday life. Sustainability 2019;11:3067. DOI:

[No authors listed]. Psychological effects of remote-only communication among reference persons of ICU patients during COVID-19 pandemic. Research Square; 2020 [Withdrawn]. Available from: DOI:

Lee K, Suh C, Kim J-E, Park Jo. The impact of long working hours on psychosocial stress response among white-collar workers. Ind Health 2017;55:46–53. DOI:

Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences [Internet]. International ethical guidelines for biomedical research involving human subjects. Manual for Research Ethics Committees. Available

Del Líbano M, Llorens S, Salanova M, Schaufeli W. Validity of a brief workaholism scale. Psicothema 2010;22:143–50.

Kubota K, Shimazu A, Kawakami N, et al. Association between workaholism and sleep problems among hospital nurses. Ind Health 2010;48:864–71. DOI:

Kubota K, Shimazu A, Kawakami N, Takahashi M. Workaholism and sleep quality among Japanese employees: A prospective cohort study. Int J Behav Med 2012;21:66–76. DOI:

Burke RJ. Workaholism in organizations: psychological and physical well-being consequences. Stress Med 2000;16:11–6. DOI:<11::AID-SMI825>3.0.CO;2-U

Spagnoli P, Molino M, Molinaro D, et al. Workaholism and technostress during the COVID-19 emergency: The crucial role of the leaders on remote working. Front Psychol 2020;11:620310. DOI:

Spagnoli P, Molinaro D. Negative (workaholic) emotions and emotional exhaustion: might job autonomy have played a strategic role in workers with responsibility during the Covid-19 crisis lockdown? Behav Sci (Basel) 2020;10:192. DOI:

Valverde-Berrocoso J, Garrido-Arroyo M, Burgos-Videla C, Morales-Cevallos MB. Trends in educational research about e-learning: A systematic literature review (2009–2018). Sustainability 2020;12:5153. DOI:

McMillan LHW, O’Driscoll MP, Marsh N V, Brady EC. Understanding workaholism: data synthesis, theoretical critique, and future design strategies. Int J Stress Manag 2001;8:69–91. DOI:

Flowers CP, Robinson B. A Structural and discriminant analysis of the work addiction risk test. Educ Psychol Meas 2002;62:517. DOI:

McMillan LHW, O’Driscoll MP. Workaholism and health. J Organ Chang Manag 2004;17:509–19. DOI:

Ohayon MM. Epidemiology of insomnia: what we know and what we still need to learn. Sleep Med Rev 2002;6:97–111. DOI: