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Junior doctors and the full shift rota – psychological and hormonal changes: a comparative cross-sectional study

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Abstract:

We studied the hormonal and psychological effect of the full shift rota on junior doctors after implementation of the European Working Time Directive, using a comparative, cross-sectional study design of male doctors in South Yorkshire. Cortisol and testosterone levels were measured and subjects completed the general health questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the androgen deficiency in the aging male screening questionnaire (ADAM), after a week of holiday (baseline), a week of nights, and a normal working week. The results showed that cortisol levels decreased from 480.6±33.1 nmol/l at baseline (after a week of holiday), to 355.7±29.1 nmol/l post normal working week (p=0.003); to 396.7±32.5 nmol/l post nights (p=0.03). GHQ-12 scores increased from 0.5±0.3 at baseline, to 1.8±0.5 post normal working week (p=0.02) and to 2.3±0.5 post nights (p=0.005). These results suggest that there are still appreciable physiological consequences with new work patterns.

Keywords: HORMONES; JUNIOR PHYSICIAN; PSYCHOLOGY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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