Individual differences in tolerance to shift work--a systematic review

Sleep Med Rev. 2011 Aug;15(4):221-35. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2010.07.002. Epub 2010 Sep 20.


Shift work tolerance is a term describing the ability to adapt to shift work without adverse consequences. In this paper we systematically review literature published investigating the relation between individual differences such as age, gender, personality, morningness/eveningness as well as biological variables and different measures of shift work tolerance from 1998 till 2009. A total of 60 articles were included in this review, of which ten studies were classified as longitudinal, while the rest were classified as cross-sectional. Overall, the studies indicate that young age, male gender, low scores on morningness, high scores on flexibility and low scores on languidity, low scores on neuroticism, high scores on extraversion and internal locus of control and some genetic dispositions are related to higher shift work tolerance. More longitudinal studies, especially concerning personality, are needed to make conclusions about the predictive power of individual differences for shift work tolerance.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Work Schedule Tolerance*