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Length of exposure to long working hours and night work and risk of sickness absence: a register-based cohort study

Peutere, L; Rosenström, T; Koskinen, A; Härmä, M; Kivimäki, M; Virtanen, M; Ervasti, J; (2021) Length of exposure to long working hours and night work and risk of sickness absence: a register-based cohort study. BMC Health Services Research , 21 , Article 1199. 10.1186/s12913-021-07231-4. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: There is inconsistent evidence that long working hours and night work are risk factors for sickness absence, but few studies have considered variation in the length of exposure time window as a potential source of mixed findings. We examined whether the association of long working hours and night work with sickness absence is dependent on the length of exposure to the working hour characteristics. METHODS: We analysed records of working hours, night work and sickness absence for a cohort of 9226 employees in one hospital district in Finland between 2008 and 2019. The exposure time windows ranged from 10 to 180 days, and we used Cox's proportional hazards models with time-dependent exposures to analyse the associations between working-hour characteristics and subsequent sickness absence. RESULTS: Longer working hours for a period of 10 to 30 days was not associated with the risk of sickness absence whereas longer working hours for a period of 40 to 180 days was associated with a lower risk of sickness absence. Irrespective of exposure time window, night work was not associated with sickness absence. CONCLUSIONS: It is important to consider the length of exposure time window when examining associations between long working hours and sickness absence, whereas the association between night work and sickness absence is not similarly sensitive to exposure times.

Type: Article
Title: Length of exposure to long working hours and night work and risk of sickness absence: a register-based cohort study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12913-021-07231-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-021-07231-4
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Health Care Sciences & Services, Sickness absence, Night work, Shift work, Exposure time, Nurses, Working hours
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139004
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