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Associations between shift work characteristics, shift work schedules, sleep and burnout in North American police officers: a cross-sectional study

NCJ Number
Bmj Open Volume: 9 Issue: 11 Dated: 2019
Date Published

This study examined associations between shift work characteristics and schedules on burnout in police and whether sleep duration and sleepiness were associated with burnout.


Police officers (n=3,140) completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment) and self-reported shift schedules (irregular, rotating, and fixed), shift characteristics (night, duration, frequency, and hours), sleep duration, and sleepiness. The study found that  Irregular schedules, long shifts (≥11 hours), mandatory overtime, short sleep, and sleepiness were associated with increased risk of overall burnout in police. Police working a greater frequency of long shifts were more likely to have emotional exhaustion (adjusted OR 1.91, 95 percent CI 1.35 to 2.72) than those not working long shifts. Night shifts were associated with depersonalization (1.32, 1.05 to 1.66) compared with not working nights. Police working mandatory overtime had increased risk of emotional exhaustion (1.37, 1.14 to 1.65) compared to those who did not. Compared with fixed schedules, irregular schedules were associated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (1.91, 1.44 to 2.54 and 1.39, 1.02 to 1.89, respectively). Police sleeping <6 hours were more likely to have emotional exhaustion (1.60, 1.33 to 1.93) than those sleeping longer, and excessive sleepiness was associated with emotional exhaustion (1.81, 1.50 to 2.18). The study concluded that Irregular schedules and increased night shifts, sleep disturbances, and work hours were related to higher burnout risk in police. Future research should evaluate work schedules in law enforcement that optimize shift duration and frequency and increase consistency in scheduling and control over work hours to limit burnout in police. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019