Advancing versus delaying shift systems

Ergonomics. 1993 Jan-Mar;36(1-3):59-64. doi: 10.1080/00140139308967855.


Two hundred and sixty-one shiftworkers from a range of UK industrial and service organizations, took part in a study to determine the impact of the direction of shift rotation on the health and well-being of the individuals concerned. All the systems were continuous, rotating over three shifts. Systems were classified according to whether they delayed (i.e., rotated in a forward direction) or advanced (i.e., rotated in a backward direction). In addition, advancing systems were divided into those which incorporated a quick return (i.e., a break of only 8 h when changing from one shift to another) and those which did not. The results add some support for the use of delaying as opposed to advancing systems, and highlight the detrimental effects of incorporating a quick return into an advancing system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Health
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Work Schedule Tolerance
  • Work*