Hormonal changes in satisfied and dissatisfied shift workers across a shift cycle

Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Stockholm, Sweden; Anne Lindqvist of the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; and Reine Attefors, of Hyltehalsan, Hyltebruk, Sweden. Their findings appear in the online section "Articles in Press" of the Journal of Applied Physiology. The journal is one of 14 scientific journals published monthly by the American Physiological Society (APS) (www.the-aps.org).


A total of 317 of 368 full time shift workers working as control room operators, shift engineers, machinists and shift supervisors at a paper and pulp factory in Sweden filled out a questionnaire where they rated their "satisfaction toward their work hours" (1 = very dissatisfied, 5 = very satisfied). These ratings were used to divide the shift workers into two groups that were either satisfied or dissatisfied with their shift schedule. The shift system had been in use for more than 20 years.

A total of 62 male shift workers were invited to participate in two health examinations where blood was drawn. Eventually, the study group included 42 men, of which 22 were satisfied (mean age of 44 years) and 20 dissatisfied (mean age 41 years). Relatively few shift workers were dissatisfied with their work hours; therefore, the resulting difference between satisfied and dissatisfied shift workers was 5.00 vs. 2.42.

The shift cycle (comprising 35 days and 5 shift teams) rotated rapidly and included 7 work periods (triads) and one week off. A "work period" consisted of three shifts during four days, with 8 hours off between the night- and afternoon-shift, and 9 hours off between the afternoon- and morning-shift. Each shift worker was examined twice, at the beginning of the morning shift during the first and the last of the seven work periods.

Fasting blood samples were obtained between 0700h and 0900h on the morning-shift during the first and the last (7th) work period and examined. The data were analyzed using

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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