The association between shift work and sick leave: A systematic review

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Occupational and environmental medicine (Impact Factor: 3.27). 07/2012; 69(10):701-12. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2011-100488
Source: PubMed


Shift work is associated with a number of negative health outcomes, although it is not known whether it is associated with sick leave. This systematic review therefore aimed to determine whether an association exists between shift work and sick leave. A systematic literature search was conducted in six databases on observational studies. Two reviewers independently selected relevant articles and appraised methodological quality. Data extraction was performed independently by review couples. Articles were categorised according to shift work characteristics and summarised using a levels of evidence synthesis. In total, the search strategy yielded 1207 references, of which 24 studies met the inclusion criteria. Nine studies were appraised as high quality and used in the levels of evidence synthesis. Two high quality longitudinal studies found a positive association between fixed evening shifts and longer sick leave for female healthcare workers. The evidence was assessed as strong. Evidence was inconclusive for rotating shifts, shift work including nights, for fixed night work, and for 8-hour and 12-hour shifts. The association found between evening work and sick leave in female healthcare workers implies that the association between shift work and sick leave might be schedule and population specific. To study the association further, more high quality studies are necessary that assess and adjust for detailed shift work exposure.

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    • "It has been suggested that some of the effects of shift work on mental health may be mediated by social difficulties in terms of imbalance between work and private life (Haines et al. 2008). Shift work has also been inferred as a risk factor for sick leave; currently, however, this seems primarily to apply to female healthcare workers on fixed evening work (Merkus et al. 2012). One recent study also indicated that shift work was associated with a chronic impairment of cognition (Marquié et al. 2015). "
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    • "The findings are consistent with prior evidence that both obesity and shiftwork are risk factors for adverse health outcomes and their combined effect may lead to greater risk of sickness absence. This study adds to the body of knowledge regarding the association of long-term shiftwork with sickness absenteeism among high-stress occupations and may have future implications that ultimately lead to interventions that could improve shiftworkers' health and also alleviate the economic burden associated with sick leave absenteeism (Merkus et al., 2012). For example, obese workers cost 27.4% higher in health care costs (Goetzel et al., 2012). "
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