The Impact of Workaholism on Nurses’ Burnout and Disillusion

Marcello Nonnis1, *, Davide Massidda1, Stefania Cuccu1, Claudio G. Cortese2
1 Department of Education, Psychology and Philosophy, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
2 Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy

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© 2018 Nonnis et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Education, Psychology and Philosophy, University of Cagliari, via Is Mirrionis 1, 09123- Cagliari, Italy; Tel: +39 070 6757516; Mobile: +39 328 2483183; Fax: +39 070 6757291; E-mail:



The literature has shown that workaholism acts at the root of burnout, but research regarding these constructs in the nursing profession is scant. Similarly, little attention has been paid to the impact of workaholism on disillusion, which is a dimension of burnout linked to professional vocation.


Contribute to the ongoing research on the relationship between workaholism and burnout among nurses. Moreover, this study considers disillusion as a dimension to be considered when investigating the relationship between workaholism and burnout, since nursing entails professional vocation.


The study followed a cross-sectional design. 614 nurses of six hospitals in South Italy have compiled two Self-report questionnaires: the Dutch Utrecht WorkAholism Scale (workaholism - Italian version) and the Link Burnout Questionnaire (burnout). Part of the group of subjects was diagnosed with both syndromes or considered at risk of developing them. The impact of workaholism on burnout was examined using Structural Equation Models for each variable.


More than 26% of the nurses are affected by burnout whereas 21% are workaholics. Working excessively proved to be a good predictor of both psychophysical exhaustion and disillusion.


Nurses are at risk of workaholism and burnout. The study shows that workaholism is a predictor of nurses’ burnout, in particular working excessively (a dimension of workaholism) affects their psychophysical well-being and professional vocation.

Keywords: Burnout, Workaholism, Disillusion, Nursing, Professional vocation, Emotional labour.