Background: Shift work has been associated with occupational stress in health providers and in those working in some industrial companies. The association is not well-established in the law enforcement workforce. Our objective was to examine the association between shift work and police work-related stress. Methods: The number of stressful events that occurred in the previous month and year was obtained using the Spielberger Police Stress Survey among 365 police officers aged 27-66 years. Work hours were derived from daily payroll work history records. A dominant shift (day, afternoon, or night) was defined for each participant as the shift with the largest percent of total time a participant worked (starting time from 4 am to1:59 am, 12 pm to 7:59 pm, and 8 pm to 3:59 am for day, afternoon and night, respectively) in the previous month or year. Analysis of variance and covariance were used to examine the number of total and subscale (administrative/professional pressure, physical/psychological danger, or organizational support) stressful events across shift. Results: During the previous month and year, officers working the afternoon and night shifts reported more stressful events than day shift officers for total stress, administrative/professional pressure, and physical/psychological danger (p<0.05). This association was independent of age, gender, race/ethnicity, and police rank. The frequency of these stressful events did not differ significantly between officers working the afternoon and night shifts. Conclusion: Non-day shift work was associated with police-specific stress in this cohort. Interventions to reduce or manage police stress that are tailored by shift may be considered.
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