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Social-psychological dynamics in shift work: Discussion I.

Shift Work and Health: A Symposium, June 12-3, 1975, Cincinnati, Ohio. Rentos PF, Shepard RD, eds., Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHEW (NIOSH) 76-203, 1976 Jul; :198-210
Available data on factors affecting adaptability to shift work were summarized, and strategies for future research efforts and measures to minimize adverse effects of shift work were suggested. The individual differences in adaptability of biological and psychological rhythms to shift work were discussed. The role of subjective perceptions of time and interpretation of phase shifting in this adaptability was identified as an area for further research. The psychological traits associated with "morning" and "evening" types and their possible implications on adaptability to shift work were discussed. Social emotional support at work was found to positively affect elevations of serum cholesterol and glucose seen in shift workers, suggesting that supportive work relationships may reduce the physiological strain associated with shift work. The problems associated with conducting longitudinal studies needed to interpret relationships discovered in cross sectional studies were discussed. Laboratory studies in which nuisance variables could be controlled were suggested for investigating some of the effects of shift work. A multimethodological approach was considered the best strategy for confirming hypotheses about shift work. Managerial procedures suggested for minimizing problems associated with shiftwork included: employee participation in deciding shift patterns; education of both management and employees on the health related effects of shift work; and medical screening of employees to identify individuals with potentials to successfully adapt to shift work. Results from a field study of police working either day shift or rotating shifts every 20 to 180 days revealed that police on rotating shifts reported much more stress related to interpersonal relationships. Rotating an entire work team including supervisors was suggested as a means of avoiding disruptions in the role set of persons on rotating shifts. The author concludes that interdisciplinary collaboration is needed in future research on health and shift work.
Shift-work; Job-stress; Sociological-factors; Biological-rhythms; Personality-traits; Epidemiology; Policemen; Emotional-stress
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Rentos-PF; Shepard-RD
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Shift Work and Health: A Symposium, June 12-3, 1975, Cincinnati, Ohio
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division