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Shiftwork experience and the value of time

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Dissatisfaction with shiftwork has been shown to increase with age and work experience. The objective was to determine if differences in preferred paid work time existed between shiftworkers with different lengths of shiftwork experience and age-matched non-shiftworkers (controls). A questionnaire was used to determine how controls and shiftworkers with different shiftwork experience perceived the value of preferred work time across the week. Participants were required to value each hour across the days of the week on a scale from 0 (least preference) to 10 (highest preference). Data were analysed across groups to produce mean and standard deviation matrices. Unpaired t-tests determined significant differences between groups. This study found that preferred hours-of-work change with years of shiftwork experience. For shiftworkers in their first 5 years and those in their 30th-year-plus of shiftwork, night work was a low priority. Shiftworkers with 17 - 30 years experience indicated a preference for work any time across the week. Overall, shiftworkers extended their preferred work hours to include the evenings and weekend. Controls adhered more strongly to current societal norms. The results suggest that a person initially undertaking shiftwork may well be one with a less restrictive perception of time and its use, however, this perception may alter over time.
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Keywords: Age and experience; Preference; Shiftwork; Time

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 26, 2004

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