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Symptoms Consistent With Shift Work Disorder Are Common Across Groups of First Responders

NCJ Number
Date Published
2 pages
This study examined more closely the incidence of symptoms consistent with shift work disorder (SWD) derived from a validated scale across two groups of first responders (police and firefighters).
The research team previously evaluated SWD in groups of first responders (police and firefighters) using a modified Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and two iterations of a modified Athens Insomnia Scale, one based on night-shift work and one based on a recent vacation. Subsequently, in a separate sample, the study identified and then cross-validated self-reported symptoms of SWD that were most strongly associated with a clinical diagnosis. The study retrospectively evaluated the incidence of these self-reported symptoms (i.e., waking too early, impaired sense of well-being, dozing at work, and likelihood of dozing while driving after at least 2 days off) in the original groups of first responders (n - 5,833 firefighters, n - 2,304 police). Approximately 80 percent of police and 70 percent of firefighters reported problems with waking up too early, 70 percent of police and 50 percent of firefighters reported a diminished sense of well-being during wake periods, 60 percent of police and 40 percent of firefighters reported dozing at work, and 8 percent of police and 10 percent of firefighters reported dozing while driving after at least 2 days off. Self-reported symptoms associated with SWD were prevalent across populations of first responders. Future research should evaluate whether these symptoms are associated with adverse health and safety outcomes, including performance and sleepiness at work, and propensity to doze while driving after shift work. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017