Do workaholism and work engagement predict employee well-being and performance in opposite directions?

Akihito Shimazu, Wilmar B. Schaufeli, Kazumi Kubota, Norito Kawakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the distinctiveness between workaholism and work engagement by examining their longitudinal relationships (measurement interval=7 months) with well-being and performance in a sample of 1,967 Japanese employees from various occupations. Based on a previous cross-sectional study (Shimazu & Schaufeli, 2009), we expected that workaholism predicts future unwell-being (i.e., high ill-health and low life satisfaction) and poor job performance, whereas work engagement predicts future well-being (i.e., low ill-health and high life satisfaction) and superior job performance. T1-T2 changes in ill-health, life satisfaction and job performance were measured as residual scores that were then included in the structural equation model. Results showed that workaholism and work engagement were weakly and positively related to each other. In addition, workaholism was related to an increase in ill-health and to a decrease in life satisfaction. In contrast, work engagement was related to a decrease in ill-health and to increases in both life satisfaction and job performance. These findings suggest that workaholism and work engagement are two different kinds of concepts that are oppositely related to well-being and performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-321
Number of pages6
JournalIndustrial Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Job performance
  • Life satisfaction
  • Physical complaints
  • Psychological distress
  • Work engagement
  • Workahol-ism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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