A questionnaire survey to assess the health, psychological, and social effects of shift work on 1,200 food processors throughout the United States was conducted. The 886 respondents were divided into four groups (permanent day workers, permanent afternoon workers, permanent night workers, and rotating shift workers) and compared by sex, age, self-reported use of medication, and physical complaints. More male than female workers were on rotating and daytime schedules, rotating and night shift workers were older than afternoon workers, and fixed day workers were older than workers on all other shifts. Nausea and vomiting, constipation, tearing and itching eyes, and use of stomach and digestive aids were four health problems associated with shift status. Females reported more frequent constipation, and males reported more use of gastrointestinal medication. The authors conclude that age and sex had the strongest impact on the effects of shift work and recommend future research concentrating on sex specific health problems.
Occupational Safety and Health Symposia 1978, Division of Technical Services, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio