Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2018;44(5):512-520    pdf full text

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3733

Night work and risk of common mental disorders: analyzing observational data as a non-randomized pseudo trial

by Beltagy MS, Pentti J, Vahtera J, Kivimäki M

Objectives The aim of this study was to examine the status of night work as a risk factor for common mental disorders (CMD).

Methods A cohort study with three data waves was conducted on populations of social and healthcare employees for a duration of eight years (total N=46 010). Data were analyzed as a non-randomized pseudo trial to examine (i) whether moving from non-night work to night work is associated with the development of CMD, (ii) the extent to which moving back to non-night work biases this association and (iii) whether moving from night to non-night work is associated with the recovery from CMD.

Results According to logistic regression with generalized estimating equation and without bias-correction, changing to night work was not associated with the odds of acquiring CMD [odds ratio (OR) 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.82–1.30]. However, night workers with CMD had higher odds of recovery from CMD when changing to non-night work compared to continuing night work (1.99, 95% CI 1.20–3.28). When night workers developed CMD, the odds of moving back to non-night work increased by 68%. In analyses corrected for this bias, changing from non-night to night work was associated with a 1.25-fold (95% CI 1.03–1.52) increased odds of acquiring CMD.

Conclusions A change from non-night to night work may increase the risk of CMD, while moving back from night to non-night work increased recovery from CMD.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2011;37(5):402-410  2009;35(5):361-367
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