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The prospective influence of sleep discrepancy in occupational burnout.

Davies-Schrils K; Burch K; Barnes-Farrell J; Cherniack M
Sleep Sci 2013 Nov; 6(Suppl 1):S36
Introduction: Occupational burnout has been increasingly studied as an outcome of chronic stress. In addition to a significant body of research that demonstrates the influence of stressful work conditions on experiences of burnout, insufficient sleep has been shown to be a significant factor contributing to burnout. In such studies, self-reported average daily sleep durations of less than 6 hours are typically classified as insufficient sleep. However, distinct from between-person differences in sleep duration, adults also report differences in the duration of sleep they feel they need for good functioning. Recurring discrepancies between the sleep adults perceive they need and what they obtain bay be a more powerful predictor of burnout than classifications of insufficient sleep duration that ignore individual differences in perceived sleep duration needs. In the present study, we examined the prospective influence of sleep duration discrepancy (defined as non-congruence between average sleep duration and duration needed for good functioning) on burnout. We hypothesized that sleep discrepancies would account for unique variance in burnout, beyond that accounted for by stressful work conditions and other sleep characteristics. Methods: Data were derived from an ongoing longitudinal study investigating the effects of age and working conditions on work capacity and worker well-being. Our analyses included data from a total of 330 workers from 5 manufacturing organizations in New England who completed surveys at two different time points approximately one year apart. The surveys include measures of work schedule, stressful work conditions (schedule control, decision authority, psychological and physical work demands), and self-reports of sleep quality, noncontinuous sleep, sleep duration, sleep duration needed for good functioning, and burnout at both points in time. Results: Hierarchical multiple regression was used to examine prospective relationships between stressful work conditions, various sleep indicators and burnout. Organization, job type, work schedule, gender, age and second job status were used as controls in each analysis. Polynomial regression was used to test the incremental relationship between sleep discrepancy and burnout, and response surface analysis was used to examine the nature of the relationship. Consistent with prior research, stressful work conditions were significantly related to burnout. In addition, low sleep quality accounted for significant variance in burnout after work conditions were included in the model. Furthermore, as predicted, high sleep discrepancy was related to burnout, accounting for significant unique variance in burnout beyond that accounted for by work conditions and other sleep variables. Conclusion: In addition to traditional measures of stressful work conditions, subjective indicators of sleep quality and sleep discrepancy may help predict burnout among manufacturing workers. Further, organizations should seek ways to support and encourage their workers to achieve greater congruence between the amount of sleep they typically get and the amount they believe they need.
Workers; Work environment; Work performance; Stress; Psychology; Psychological stress; Physical stress; Physiology; Sleep; Sleep deprivation; Sleep disorders; Humans; Men; Women; Age groups; Work schedules
Publication Date
Document Type
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-008929; Grant-Number-T01-OH-008610
Priority Area
Source Name
Sleep Science
Performing Organization
University of Connecticut School of Medicine/Dentristy, Farmington
Page last reviewed: November 19, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division