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Anales de Psicología

versão On-line ISSN 1695-2294versão impressa ISSN 0212-9728

Anal. Psicol. vol.35 no.3 Murcia Out. 2019  Epub 30-Nov-2020 

Social and Organizational Psychology

A predictive study of antecedent variables of Passion towards Work

Estudio correlacional-predictivo de las variables antecedentes de la Pasión por el Trabajo

María-José Serrano-Fernández1  *  , Joan Boada-Grau1  , Carme Gil-Ripoll2  , Andreu Vigil-Colet1 

1Universitat Rovira i Virgili, URV, Tarragona (Spain)

2EADA, Business School, EADA, Barcelona (Spain)



The aim of this study was to conduct a correlational-predictive study of the antecedent variables of Passion towards Work.


The participants were 513 workers (48.1% male, 51.9% female), obtained through non-probability sampling. We used the FACTOR programs (7.2 version) and SPSS 20.0.


We found that variables such as Personality, Engagement, Self-efficacy, obsessive-compulsive component COI, Life satisfaction and Lifestyle were predictive of Passion towards Work.


Passion towards Work can be predicted as follows: The variables Dedication, Growth, Physical activity, Satisfaction with life and Excessive responsibility were direct predictors of Harmonious Passion whereas Vigor was an inverse predictor. Similarly, the variables Absorption and Excessive responsibility were predictors of Obsessive Passion, whereas Satisfaction with life, Openness to experience and Kindness were negative predictors.

Keywords: Passion towards work; Occupational health; Workaholism; Scales; Happiness.



El objetivo de este estudio fue realizar un estudio correlacional-predictivo de las variables antecedentes de la Pasión por el trabajo.


Los participantes han sido 513 trabajadores (48,1 % hombres, 51,9 % mujeres), obtenidos mediante un muestreo no probabilístico. Se han utilizado los programas FACTOR (versión 7.2) y SPSS 20.0.


se determina la capacidad predictiva de variables como Personalidad, Engagement, Autoeficacia, ICO, Satisfacción por la vida y Estilo de vida sobre la Pasión por el trabajo.


La Pasión por el Trabajo se puede predecir de la siguiente manera: La Pasión Armoniosa de forma directa con las variables Dedicación, Crecimiento, Actividad física, Satisfacción con la vida y Responsabilidad excesiva, y de manera inversa con el Vigor. Mientras que la Pasión Obsesiva a través de las variables Absorción y Responsabilidad excesiva y de manera negativa la Satisfacción con la vida, la Apertura a la experiencia y la Amabilidad.

Palabras clave: Pasión por el trabajo; Salud laboral; Adicción al trabajo; Escalas; Amabilidad


The concept of passion has received little attention in Psychology because researchers have mainly focused on its motivational aspect. Frijda, Mesquita, Sonnemans and Van Goozen (1991) defined passions as priority objectives with emotionally important outcomes. Furthermore, the concept of passion has been placed in different contexts, such as creativity (Goldberg, 1986) and the passion for driving vehicles (Marsh & Collet, 1987). These studies did not lead to a great deal of empirical research and consequently Vallerand et al. (2003) found that practically all the empirical work on passion has been in the field of personal relationships. These authors then put forward a new approach, focusing on passion towards things, and defined passion as a strong inclination or desire towards an activity which people like (or even love), an activity that they consider important in their life and in which they invest their time and energy. In this way it becomes something significant in their lives, something that delights them and something they spend their time doing. The above mentioned authors based their work on previous research studies, which had clearly demonstrated that the appraisal of the activity (Deci, Eghrari, Patrick, & Leone, 1994), the time and energy spent (Emmons, 1999), and the degree of enjoyment doing the task (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, & Whalen, 1993) are associated with the time that people invest in a particular activity.

Vallerand and his collaborators (Vallerand, 2008, 2010, 2015; Vallerand et al., 2003; Vallerand & Houlfort, 2003; Vallerand, Paquet, Philippe & Charest, 2010; Verner-Filion, Lafrenière, & Vallerand, 2012) put forward two types of passion: (1) Harmonious Passion, the outcome of internalising the autonomous activity in the person's identity, which takes place when individuals have accepted an activity that is important for them at their own free will without attributing any types of contingencies to it. This type of internalisation produces strength of motivation to voluntarily take part in the activity and it engenders will power and personal support for seeking out the activity. People feel obliged to perform the activity but decide to do so of their own accord. Thus the activity occupies a significant but not unbearable space in the person's identity and what's more, it is in harmony with other aspects of the person's life. (2) Obsessive Passion is the outcome of a controlled internalisation of the activity. This internalisation stems from intrapersonal and/or interpersonal pressure either because certain contingencies are linked to the activity, such as feelings of social acceptance or self-esteem, or because the emotional sensation derived from taking part turns it into an uncontrollable activity. Therefore, although individuals like the activity, they feel obliged to take part in it because of these internal contingencies which exercise control over them. This means that the person does not stop taking part in the passionate activity because it controls them. This is due to the fact that their commitment to the activity is beyond the person's control and over time it takes up a disproportionate space in their identity, creating conflicts with other activities in their life. Vallerand (2015) proposes that two types of internalization processes, autonomous and controlled, lead, respectively to harmonious and obsessive passions, and Obsessive passion results from a controlled internalization of the activity into the person's identity. In this sense, Gulyani and Bhatnagar (2017) indicate that Individual orientation at workplace affects passion levels. Passion for work relates positively to proactive work behavior. Passion for work mediates the relationship between Protean career attitude and Proactive work behavior. Fourth, Protean career attitude influences proactive work behavior indirectly.

The objective of this research study is to develop a predictive model of Passion towards Work using the following indicators: Personality, Engagement, Self-Efficacy, COI, Satisfaction with life and Lifestyle. The hypotheses we put forward are outlined below:

  1. Hypothesis 1: If Harmonious Passion is influenced by Personality, Engagement, Self-efficacy, COI, Satisfaction with Life and Lifestyle then a model that incorporates these predictors could be used to reliably predict Harmonious Passion.

  2. Hypothesis 2: If Obsessive Passion is influenced by Personality, Engagement, Self-efficacy, COI, Satisfaction with Life and Lifestyle then a model that incorporates these predictors could be used to reliably predict Obsessive Passion.



The participants were 513 currently employed workers (48.1 % men, 51.9 % women). Their average age was 43.13 years (SD = 11.61). Their marital status: Married (62.2%), de facto union (7.8%), single (18.7%), divorced / separated (10.3%) and widower (1.0%). Their educational qualifications were as follows: No studies (1.9%), Completed primary school (25.5%), Completed secondary education (43.3%), Three-year university degree or Technical Engineering Diploma (14.2%), Five-year university degree or Higher Engineer or Architect (9.9%) and Master and/or Doctorate (5.1%).


In order to measure passion toward work we used the Spanish version of the Passion Toward Work Scale (PTW; Vallerand, & Houlfort, 2003; Vallerand et al, 2003), adapted by Serrano-Fernández, Boada-Grau, Gil-Ripoll and Vigil-Colet (2017). It consists of 9 items and 2 subscales and uses a Likert type response format. The factors were: “F1.- Harmonious Passion”, made up of 4 items, (α = .77). “F2.- Obsessive Passion”, made up of 5 items, (α = .89).

Personality was assessed with the Personality Inventory (OPERAS; Vigil-Colet, Morales-Vives, Camps, Tous and Lorenzo-Seva, 2013), an instrument based on the five big personality factors model is a scale of 40 items, which are responded to using a 5-point scale. It measures: Extraversion (alpha = .86), Emotional Stability (alpha = .86), Responsibility (alpha = .77), Kindness (alpha = .71) and Openness to Experience (alpha = .81).

We also used the Spanish version of the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE; Baessler & Schwarcer, 1996), adapted by Sanjuán, Pérez and Bermúdez (2000). This single factor scale is made up of 10 items, (α = .87); e.g. “8.- If I make enough of an effort I can solve most problems”). The response format was a 4-point Likert type scale. (1= False to 4= True).

We also used the Spanish version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES; Schaufeli, Salanova, González-Romá, & Bakker, 2002), drawn up by Salanova, Schaufeli, Llorens, Peiró and Grau (2000). This is a three factor scale, made up of 15 items, the first of which is “Vigor”, made up of 5 items, (α = .80), followed by “Dedication”, made up of 5 items, (α = .92) and finally, the last dimension is “Absorption”, also made up of 5 items, (α = .75), with a 7-point Likert response scale.

The Spanish version of The Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II (HPLP-II; Walker & Hill-Polerecky, 1996), adapted into Spanish by Serrano-Fernandez, Boada-Grau, Vigil-Colet and Gil-Ripoll (2016). Made up of 48 items and 4 subscales, it uses a 4-point Likert type response scale. The factors are: “F1.- Responsibility for one's health”, consisting of 12 items, (α = .81). “F2.- Physical Activity”, made up of 12 items, (α = .86). “F3.- Nutrition”, made up of 6 items, (α = .70). “F4.- Spiritual growth and Interpersonal relationships”, made up of 18 items, (α = .88).

The obsessive-compulsive component (COI; Belloch, Cabedo, Morillo, Lucero and Carrió, 2003), into Spanish language. Made up of 58 items and 7 subscales, it uses a 7-point Likert type response scale. We have only used two factors: “F2.- Perfectionism and intolerance of uncertainty”, consisting of 14 items, (α = .86) and “F5.- Excessive and important responsibility to control the thoughts”, consisting of 10 items (α = .84).

The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), in its Spanish version adapted by Atienza, Pons, Balaguer, & García-Merita (2000). This is a single factor scale, (α = .84), made up of 5 items (e.g., “2.- Until now I have got the things out of life that I consider important”). The response format is a 5-point Likert type scale. (1 = Totally disagree to 5=Totally agree).


We used non probability sampling (Hernández, Fernández, & Baptista, 2000) o also known as accidental-random sampling (Kerlinger, 2001) to obtain the sample. The response rate was approximately 80%.

Data Analysis

The analysis began by using Pearson's correlation coefficients to calculate the correlations between the predictor variables and the criterion variables. We then performed multiple regressions using the stepwise option, whereby the programme enters each predictor variable in the model according to the extent to which it accounts for variance. We used the SPSS 20.0 programme.


The correlational study featured below (Table 1) only displays the correlations between the criterion variables and the predictor variables in this study.

From the present study we extracted the following correlations and found a positive correlation between Harmonious Passion and fifteen predictor variables (Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Responsibility, Openness to Experience, Self-efficacy, Vigor, Dedication, Absorption, Perfectionism, Excessive responsibility, Satisfaction with Life, Responsibility for one's health, Physical activity, Nutrition and Growth). As far as Obsessive Passion is concerned, it correlated positively with seven predictor variables (Vigor, Dedication, Absorption, Perfectionism, Excessive responsibility, Responsibility for one's health and Growth), and correlated negatively with Kindness and Openness to experience.

Table 1.  Correlations between the predictor variables and the criterion variables. 

**The correlation is significant at .01 (bilateral).

*The correlation is significant at .05 (bilateral).

We used multiple linear regression analysis in order to test the effects that sixteen predictor variables have on the criterion variables related to Passion towards Work. Two multiple linear regression models were used for this purpose.

Figure 1.  Model followed in this investigation. 

The first model aimed to identify the degree to which these predictor variables were capable of predicting the criterion variable Harmonious Passion (PTW). Table 2 presents a summary of the model in which we can see that the predictor variables, Dedication, Growth, Physical activity, Satisfaction with life, Excessive responsibility and Vigor account for 55.5 % of the criterion variable's variance. The Dedication variable stands out as the best predictor, accounting for 50.1% of variance. Among the most important aspects are the beta coefficient values. If we take a look at these coefficients we can see that the predictor variables which were found to be statistically significant were: Vigor (β= -.110), Excessive responsibility (β=.095), Satisfaction with life (β=.088), Physical Activity (β=.109), Growth (β=.147) and Dedication (β=.682). All of them were significant.

Table 2.  Summary of the predictive models for the four criterion variables. 

The second model analysed the variables' ability to predict the criterion variable Obsessive Passion (PTW). The model is summarised in Table 2 which shows that the predictor variables Absorption, Excessive responsibility, Satisfaction with life, Openness to experience and Kindness account for 36.9 % of the criterion variable's variance, whereas the variable Absorption is the best predictor, accounting for 25.5% of variance. The beta coefficient values were as follows: Kindness (β = -.103), Openness to experience (β = -.119), Satisfaction with life (β = -.156), Excessive responsibility (β=.230), Absorption (=.500).


The results presented above are in line with the concept that certain variables have predictive power over factors studied in relation with Passion towards work.

We can safely say that the first hypothesis was partially verified, given that, according to our findings, the best predictive model included the variables, Dedication, Growth, Physical Activity, Satisfaction with life, Excessive responsibility, and inversely, Vigor (Table 2).

The analysis also showed (Table 1) a positive correlation between Harmonious Passion and fifteen predictor variables (Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Responsibility, Openness to experience, Self-efficacy, Vigor, Dedication, Absorption, Perfectionism, Excessive responsibility, Satisfaction with life, Responsibility for one's health, Physical Activity, Nutrition and Growth). Of these variables, Extraversion, Emotional stability, Responsibility, Openness to experience, Self-efficacy, Absorption, Perfectionism, Responsibility for one's health and Nutrition, despite the fact that they related positively with the criterion variable, were not included in the predictive model. According to other authors who have linked harmonious passion with a series of beneficial results, which include performance in the role, well-being, flow, organization, commitment, pro-environmental behavior and positive affect. It has also been found to be negatively related to role conflict and role overload, as well as to exhaustion (Birkeland, Richardsen, & Dysvik, 2018; Curran, Hill, Appleton, Vallerand, & Standage, 2015; Marsh et al., 2013).

We can therefore conclude that none of the Personality variables were found to be predictive although we did find a positive relationship between Extraversion, Emotional stability, Responsibility and Openness to experience. Along the same lines, Balon, Lecoq and Rimé (2013) state that individuals with Harmonious Passion are characterised by a certain degree of Responsibility, Extraversion, Kindness and Openness to experience.

The Engagement variables included in the model were Dedication (direct) and Vigor (inverse), and a positive relationship was also found with the variable Absorption. Balon et al. (2013) indicate that Harmonious Passion positively predicts Engagement, in that it foments emotional energy and job satisfaction and allows employees to carry out tasks in a flexible way which in turn leads to positive results (for example, they have a positive effect on Absorption and flow). Qadeer, Ahmed, Hameed and Mahmood (2016) demonstrates a positive relationship of harmonious passion with work engagement, with employee's job performance and extra-role behaviors. Furthermore, the predictor variable Self-efficacy, was not included in the predictive model despite the fact that it related positively with Harmonious Passion. Cardon and Kirk (2013) indicate that business owners' passion towards work may help to explain the relation between entrepreneurial self-efficacy and continuing with the entrepreneurial activity.

In the Compulsive Obsessive component (COI), Excessive responsibility is included in the predictive model whereas Perfectionism, despite the fact that it was not included in the model, correlated positively. Satisfaction with life was included in the predictive model, (Philippe, Vallerand and Lavigne, 2009; Rousseau and Vallerand, 2008) indicate that Harmonious Passion increases the levels of Satisfaction with life. As regards Lifestyle, the predictive model included Physical Activity and Growth, whereas a positive relation was also found with Nutrition and Responsibility for one's health.

As far as the second hypothesis is concerned we can also say that it was partially verified given that we found that the best predictive model for Obsessive Passion directly incorporates the variables Absorption and Excessive responsibility, and inversely incorporates Satisfaction with life, Openness to experience and Kindness (Table 2). Furthermore, we found that Obsessive Passion, correlated positively with seven predictor variables (Vigor, Dedication, Absorption, Perfectionism, Excessive responsibility, Responsibility for one's health and Growth) and negatively with Kindness and Openness to experience. Of these variables, Vigor, Dedication, Perfectionism, Responsibility for one's health and Growth, despite the fact that they correlated positively with the criterion variable, were excluded from the predictive model.

Hence, we can conclude that as far as Personality variables are concerned, Kindness and Openness to experience inversely predict Obsessive Passion whereas no relation was established with the variables Extraversion, Emotional stability and Responsibility. In this respect, Balon et al. (2013) associate Obsessive Passion with a low level of Kindness as well as with a lack of connection with the other dimensions of personality. As regards Engagement, the variable that was included in the model was Absorption, whereas it also correlated positively with Vigour and Dedication. Vallerand et al. (2003) point out that Obsessive Passion is not related to Engagement because, despite the fact that employees with more Obsessive Passion have a deep inclination towards their job, the internal pressure that makes them work intensely also seems to prevent them from fully enjoying it. It therefore appears that Obsessive Passion restricts the emotional energy of employees and mental resistance at work. Mageau and Vallerand (2007) found that Harmonious Passion and Obsessive Passion may lead to different patterns of Engagement. Furthe rmore, the Self-efficacy variable was not included in the predictive model and no relation was found between it and Obsessive Passion, despite the fact that Cardon and Kirk (2013) state that the passion that business owners have towards work may help to explain the relationship between entrepreneurial self-efficacy and entrepreneurship. With regard to the Compulsive Obsessive component (COI), the Excessive responsibility variable was included in the predictive model whereas Perfectionism, although it wasn't included in the model, did relate positively. In this respect, passionate people are obsessive people (Hatfield and Rapson, 1993). In addition, obsessive passion has been linked to work addiction, and as this is characterized by an internal compulsion that prevents dissociation from it even if they are not in it (Serrano-Fernández, 2014).

Satisfaction with life was included inversely in the predictive model. Along the same lines we found that Obsessive Passion correlates negatively with the level of Satisfaction with life (Philippe et al., 2009; Rousseau and Vallerand, 2008). As regards Lifestyle, the predictive model did not include any variables, although a positive relation was found with Responsibility for one's health and Growth.

The present research study contributes to the body of knowledge concerning Passion towards Work in various aspects which include Personality, Engagement, Self-efficacy, COI, Satisfaction with life and Lifestyle.

The findings have important practical implications concerning Passion towards Work which should be taken into account to ensure adequate strategic management of human resources inside organisations. Chief among these are: Promoting Satisfaction with life, training employees in aspects such as Responsibility towards one's health, Physical Activity and Nutrition, and furthering Growth and Personal relationships.

The study has a number of limitations, the most important of which stem from the fact that its design is cross-sectional, which means that the results cannot be interpreted causally. What's more, the data we obtained comes from self reports that participants filled in themselves, hence a part of the conclusions may have been affected by common method variance. On the other hand, the multiple regression analysis we implemented, which studies the relation between predictor variables and criterion variables, enabled us to obtain conclusions concerning the direct and inverse influence between the variables used in the study. However, the research could be improved by using a structural equations model in the data analysis.


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Received: May 14, 2018; Revised: December 17, 2018; Accepted: February 22, 2019

*Correspondence address [Dirección para correspondencia]: María-José Serrano-Fernández, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Faculty of Education Sciences and Psychology, Campus Sescelades, Ctra Valls, s/n, 43007 Tarragona (Spain). Email:

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