Effects of the implementation of an 84-hour workweek on neurobehavioral test performance and cortisol responsiveness during testing.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study examined whether long workhours in combination with an extended workweek (12 hours/7 days), as requested by the workers, impaired attention and cognitive performance and whether the degree of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activation was related to the response to the performance tasks. METHODS: A group of 41 male construction workers between 21 and 60 (mean 39) years of age who worked 84 hours a week, with alternate weeks off, was compared with a group of 23 male construction workers between 24 and 65 (mean 43) years of age who had a traditional 40-hour work schedule. Neurobehavioral test performance, self-ratings of fatigue and sleepiness, and salivary cortisol levels were evaluated in a counterbalanced repeated-measures design. RESULTS: The 84-hour group did not show any signs of reduced test performance or elevated fatigue and sleepiness. The 84-hour group had faster reaction times on day 7 than on days 1 and 5. Although the expected activation of the HPA axis was only found in the total study sample when workdays 1 and 5 were collapsed, the HPA activation can be considered normal. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that an 84-hour work regimen in response to requests from workers does not induce more performance deficits than an ordinary 40-hour workweek. An extended work schedule of 84 hours cannot in the short-term be considered to affect basic mental capabilities negatively.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Stockholm
  • University of Bergen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-269
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
Volume29
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes