Prevalence of probable shift work disorder in non-standard work schedules and associations with sleep, health and safety outcomes: a cross-sectional analysis

Amy C. Reynolds, Sally A. Ferguson, Sarah L. Appleton, Meagan E. Crowther, Yohannes Adama Melaku, Tiffany K. Gill, Shantha M.W. Rajaratnam, Robert J. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We aimed to estimate the prevalence of probable shift work disorder (pSWD) in a representative sample of Australian workers and identify sleep, health and safety correlates. Patients and Methods: In 2019, data were collected from working respondents as part of a cross-sectional national sleep health survey conducted online (n=964 total; n=448 individuals on non-standard work schedules). We established the prevalence of pSWD according to International Classification of Sleep Disorders criteria (ICSD-R, ICSD-2 and ICSD-3). Poisson regression was used to determine crude and adjusted prevalence association (prevalence ratio, PR) of pSWD with sleep, health and safety outcomes. Results: Overall prevalence of pSWD in workers on non-standard work schedules was 10.5%, ranging from 9.6% in early morning workers to 12.7% in rotating shift workers. In adjusted models, workers who met the criteria for pSWD were 1.8 times more likely to report both depression/bipolar disorder, and anxiety/panic disorder, and 1.7 times more likely to report work errors due to a sleep problem. Conclusion: The prevalence of pSWD in employees engaged in non-standard work schedules is influenced by selection of factors used to quantify pSWD, including sleep/wake patterns. Higher likelihoods of mental health problems and workplace errors in those with pSWD highlight the importance of intervention and management of this under-recognised sleep disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-693
Number of pages11
JournalNature and Science of Sleep
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 3 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Mental health
  • Occupational health
  • Safety
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disorder
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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