2019 Volume 57 Issue 2 Pages 175-183
This consensus report summarizes the negative impact of work-related psychosocial factors and job stressors on the health and wellbeing of shift workers. Psychosocial factors may (a) directly affect work schedules or (b) mediate or moderate relationships between work schedules, circadian factors, and health. In this paper, prominent psychosocial models (e.g. Job Strain and Effort-Reward Imbalance) are used to help assess detrimental effects, including pathophysiologic outcomes. Several studies indicate the psychosocial environment can be more problematic for shift workers compared to regular day workers. This is likely due to shift worker’s experiencing greater risks of low job control, high physical work demands, lower support from supervisors, and greater levels of over-commitment. Workplace violence is another frequently encountered psychosocial stressor for shift workers more likely to be in regular contact with the general public, such as police officers, security personnel, professional drivers, and other service employees being at elevated risk. A large body of literature confirms night and irregular shift schedules increase risk for injury. Non-diurnal schedules can trigger and worsen such incidents, especially under unsafe conditions. The problem of workplace violence for shift workers, in terms of severity and consequences, is probably underestimated, especially when present among other occupational stressors. Practical considerations and recommendations for action to mitigate the detrimental effects of psychosocial stressors on night and shift workers are presented.