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The authors Kyriaki Papantoniou and Jasminka Godnic-Cvar contributed equally to the manuscript.
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In aging healthcare professionals, multiple stressors such as night work may affect life and work satisfaction and risk for chronic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease [CVD]). In this pilot study we compared workability, quality of life (QoL), and CVD risk markers between night shift and day workers.
We included 70 hospital employees (mean age 52 ± 4 years, 91.4% female): 32 rotating night shift workers (> 3 nights/month) and 38 permanent day workers. In addition to sociodemographic, lifestyle, and sleep characteristics, we assessed i) workability index (WAI), ii) QoL (World Health Organization Quality of Life [WHOQOL-Bref]) and iii) CVD risk markers, i.e. carotid ultrasound measurements, and biomarkers (NTproBNP, CRP, IL‑6, LDL, ferritin, copper, zinc, and selenium). WAI, QoL, and CVD risk markers were compared between night and day workers. In a subgroup of participants (N = 38) with complete data, we used quantile regression analysis to estimate age and multivariate adjusted differences in biomarker levels.
We found no differences in the domains of QoL (physical health, psychological, social relationships, and environment) and WAI scores between night and day workers. Night shift workers were less likely to report excellent workability than day workers, although differences were not statistically significant. Night shift workers reported more sleep problems (73.1% vs. 55.6%) and tended to have lower zinc levels and higher inflammatory markers (CRP, IL‑6, ferritin), but differences were not significant after adjusting for potential confounders.
Workability, QoL and CVD markers did not significantly differ between rotating night shift and day workers in this small pilot study. Sleep problems and inflammatory marker levels carry implications for occupational health.