Shift work, and burnout and distress among 7798 blue-collar workers

Gerben Hulsegge, Willem van Mechelen, Karin I. Proper, Heleen Paagman, Johannes R. Anema

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Objective: This study aimed to investigate the association between shift work, and burnout and distress, and differences by degree of satisfaction with shift schedule and its impact on private life. Methods: Population 4275 non-shift factory workers and 3523 rotating 5-shift workers. Workers participated between 2009 and 2016 one to three times in the companies’ periodical occupational health checks. Burnout was measured using the distance, exhaustion and competence subscales of the Dutch Maslach Burnout Inventory and distress by the subscale of the Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire (scale: 0–100). Multiple-adjusted linear mixed models were used to assess between- and within-subject associations between shift work and outcomes, and differences by age, years of shift work, and satisfaction with and impact of shift schedule. Results: Shift work was significantly associated with lower scores on burnout distance (B − 1.0, 95% − 1.8 to 0.3), and among those aged ' 48 years with burnout exhaustion (range B − 1.3 to − 1.6). However, the effect sizes were small. Compared to non-shift workers, shift workers dissatisfied with their schedule and those experiencing a high impact on private life had significantly higher burnout (range B 1.7–6.3) and distress levels (range B 4.9–6.1). In contrast, satisfied shift workers and those experiencing a low impact of shift schedule had lower burnout (range B − 0.2 to − 2.2) and no difference in distress levels (P ≥ 0.05). No clear pattern by years of shift work was observed. Conclusions: Shift work was associated with burnout and distress in those who were dissatisfied with or who had perceived high impact on the private life of their shift schedule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-963
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Job satisfaction
  • Job stress
  • Night work
  • Rotating shift system
  • Work-family conflict

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