Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2017;43(5):485-493    pdf full text


Shift work and cognitive aging: a longitudinal study

by Bokenberger K, Ström P, Dahl Aslan AK, Åkerstedt T, Pedersen NL

Objectives The few studies of shift work and late life cognitive functioning have yielded mixed findings. The aim of the present study is to estimate the association between shift-work experience and change in cognitive performance before and after retirement age among older adults who were gainfully employed.

Methods Five hundred and ninety five participants with no dementia were followed up for a mean of 17.6 standard deviation (SD) 8.8 years from a Swedish population-based sample. Participants had self-reported information on any type of shift-work experience (ever/never) in 1984 and measures of cognitive performance (verbal, spatial, memory, processing speed, and general cognitive ability) from up to 9 waves of cognitive assessments during 1986–2012. Night work history (ever/never) from 1998–2002 was available from a subsample (N=320). Early adult cognitive test scores were available for 77 men.

Results In latent growth curve modeling, there were no main effects of "any-type" or night shift work on the mean scores or rate of change in any of the cognitive domains. An interaction effect between any-type shift work and education on cognitive performance at retirement was noted. Lower-educated shift workers performed better on cognitive tests than lower-educated day workers at retirement. Sensitivity analyses, however, indicated that the interactions appeared to be driven by selection effects. Lower-educated day workers demonstrated poorer cognitive ability in early adulthood than lower-educated shift workers, who may have selected jobs entailing higher cognitive demand.

Conclusion There was no difference in late-life cognitive aging between individuals with a history of working shifts compared to those who had typical day work schedules during midlife.

This article refers to the following text of the Journal: 1999;25(6):610-615
The following article refers to this text: 2017;43(6):569-577
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