Changes in working time arrangements over time as a consequence of work-family conflict

Department of Epidemiology, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Chronobiology International (Impact Factor: 3.34). 07/2010; 27(5):1045-61. DOI: 10.3109/07420528.2010.489874
Source: PubMed


Existing longitudinal studies on the relationship between working time arrangements (WTA) and work-family conflict have mainly focused on the normal causal relationship, that is, the impact of WTA on work-family conflict over time. So far, however, the reversed relationship, that is, the effect of work-family conflict on adjustments in WTA over time, has hardly been studied. Because work-family conflict is highly prevalent in the working population, further insight in this reverse relationship is invaluable to gain insight into secondary selection processes. The aim of this study is to investigate whether work-family conflict is prospectively related to adjustments in work schedules, working hours, and overtime work, and to explore sex differences and different time lags in this relation. Data of the prospective Maastricht Cohort Study were used. To study the effect of work-family conflict on a change from shift- to day work over 32 months of follow-up, male three-shift (n = 727), five-shift (n = 932), and irregular-shift (n = 451) workers were selected. To study effects of work-family conflict on reduction of working hours over 12 and 24 months of follow-up, respectively, only day workers (males and females) were selected, capturing 5809 full-time workers (> or =36 h/wk) and 1387 part-time workers (<36 h/wk) at baseline. To examine effects of work-family conflict on refraining from overtime work over 12 months of follow-up, only day workers reporting frequent overtime work at baseline were selected (3145 full-time and 492 part-time workers). Cox regression analyses were performed with adjustments for age, educational level, and presence of a long-term illness. Work-family conflict was associated with a significantly increased risk of changing from shift- to day work over 32 months of follow-up in three-shift workers (relative risk [RR] = 1.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19-2.63) but not in five-shift workers (RR = 1.32, 95% CI 0.78-2.24) and irregular-shift workers (RR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.50-1.31). Within day workers, work-family conflict among full-time workers was associated with a significantly increased risk of reducing working hours during 1 yr of follow-up in women (RR = 2.80, 95% CI 1.42-5.54) but not men (RR = 1.34, 95% CI 0.81-2.22). In part-time workers, work-family conflict was associated with a significantly increased risk of reducing working hours during 1 yr of follow-up both in women (RR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.04-3.82) and men (RR = 4.03, 95% CI 1.28-12.68). Whereas the effects of work-family conflict on a reduction of working hours somewhat decreased among female full-time workers after 2 yr of follow-up (RR = 2.13, 95% CI 1.24-3.66), among male full-time workers the effects increased and reached statistical significance (RR = 1.53, 95% CI 1.05-2.21). Work-family conflict was not significantly associated with refraining from overtime work over 1 yr of follow-up. This study shows that work-family conflict has important consequences in terms of adjustments in work schedules and working hours over time, with considerable sex differences. The study thereby clearly illustrates secondary selection processes both in shift- and day workers, with significant implications for labor force participation, emphasizing the need for prevention of work-family conflict.

10 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Several attributes of the work schedule can increase the risk of occupational injuries and accidents, health impairments, and reduced social participation. Although previous studies mainly focused on the effects of shiftwork and long working hours on employee health and safety, there is little evidence of a potential negative impact of working Sundays on the incidence of occupational accidents, health impairments, and work-life balance. A representative sample of employed workers in 31 member and associated states of the European Union (n = 23,934) served as the database for a cross-sectional analysis. The sample was collected via face-to-face interviews in the year 2005. The association of the risks of occupational accidents, health impairments, and decreases in work-life balance with working Sundays was calculated using logistic regression models, controlling for potential confounders, such as shiftwork, workload, and demographic characteristics. The results indicated that working one or more Sundays/month was associated with increase both in the risk of reporting one or more health impairments (odds ratio [OR]: 1.17, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06-1.29) and poorer work-life balance (OR: 1.15, 95% CI: 1.02-1.28). These effects remained after controlling for potentially confounding factors, such as other work schedule attributes, intensity of physical and mental workload, and individual characteristics. Furthermore, working Sundays was also related to increased risk of occupational accidents within the last year (OR: 1.34, 95% CI: 1.03-1.73). Controlling again for individual, workload, and working-time characteristics, a significant association with accident risk, however, remained only in work sectors with low a priori risk of occupational accidents (OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.02-1.91), although the increased risk could be observed for both medium and high a priori risk sectors working Sundays (without controlling for additional confounders). The results thus indicate that the detrimental effects of working Sundays on safety, health, and social well-being should be taken into account when designing work schedules. The potential hazards to employees' safety, health, and work-life balance, in particular, should be considered in discussions concerning extending work on Sundays in certain sectors, e.g., retail.
    No preview · Article · May 2011 · Chronobiology International
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to reassess and compare the usefulness of the National Library of Medicine (NLM)'s Medical Subject Headings® (MeSH) thesaurus for electronic indexing and retrieval of chronobiologic bibliography, after 4 years from a previous study on the same subject (Portaluppi F. 2007114. Portaluppi , F . 2007. Consistency and accuracy of the medical subject headings thesaurus for electronic indexing and retrieval of chronobiologic references. Chronobiol Int, 24: 1213–1229. [Taylor & Francis Online]View all references. Consistency and accuracy of the medical subject headings thesaurus for electronic indexing and retrieval of chronobiologic references. Chronobiol Int. 24:1213–1229) which demonstrated inconsistent and inaccurate results obtained with existing chronobiologic MeSH terms and suggested the inclusion in the MeSH thesaurus of some common chronobiologic concepts and definitions. A sample set of 219 recent chronobiologic references was downloaded from the MEDLINE®'s database together with all MeSH entries associated with them. The following descriptors of obvious chronobiologic relevance were reanalyzed: “chronobiology”, “chronobiology disorders”, “biological clocks”, “circadian rhythm”, “chronotherapy”, “periodicity”, “seasons”, “sleep disorders, circadian rhythm” and “time factors”. Results were comparable with the previous study that we did 4 years ago. The MeSH terms of obvious chronobiologic significance are still inconsistently and inaccurately retrieving chronobiologic references, while none of the common chronobiologic concepts that we suggested have been included in the MeSH thesaurus, which remains largely incomplete for chronobiologic use.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Biological Rhythm Research
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This dedicated issue of Chronobiology International is devoted to the selected proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Shift Work and Working Time held in Stockholm, Sweden, 28 June to 1 July 2011. It constitutes the fifth such issue of the journal since 2004 dedicated to the selected proceedings to the meetings of the Working Time Society. The key theme of the 20th Symposium was "Biological Mechanisms, Recovery, and Risk Management in the 24-h Society." The collection of papers of this dedicated issue represents the best of contemporary research on the effects of night and rotating shift schedules on worker health and safety. The contents cover such topics as sleep restriction, injuries, health, and performance of night work and rotating shiftwork, plus light treatment as a countermeasure against the circadian disruption of shiftwork. The majority of the papers are observational field studies, including some of large sample size, and three studies are well-designed laboratory experiments. (Author correspondence: [email protected] /* */)
    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Chronobiology International
Show more