Working at night and work ability among nursing personnel: when precarious employment makes the difference

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2009 Jul;82(7):877-85. doi: 10.1007/s00420-008-0383-4. Epub 2008 Nov 14.


Purpose: To test the association between night work and work ability, and verify whether the type of contractual employment has any influence over this association.

Methods: Permanent workers (N = 642) and workers with precarious jobs (temporary contract or outsourced; N = 552) were interviewed and filled out questionnaires concerning work hours and work ability index. They were classified into: never worked at night, ex-night workers, currently working up to five nights, and currently working at least six nights/2-week span.

Results: After adjusting for socio-demography and work variables, current night work was significantly associated with inadequate WAI (vs. day work with no experience in night work) only for precarious workers (OR 2.00, CI 1.01-3.95 and OR 1.85, CI 1.09-3.13 for those working up to five nights and those working at least six nights in 2 weeks, respectively).

Conclusions: Unequal opportunities at work and little experience in night work among precarious workers may explain their higher susceptibility to night work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contract Services
  • Employment / classification*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Capacity Evaluation*
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / physiology*
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / psychology