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

Persson, Roger LU ; Örbaek, Palle LU ; Ursin, Holger; Kecklund, Göran; Österberg, Kai LU and Akerstedt, Torbjörn (2003) In Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 29(4). p.261-269
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... (More)
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. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
volume
29
issue
4
pages
261 - 269
publisher
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
external identifiers
  • wos:000184766000003
  • pmid:12934719
  • scopus:0043011730
ISSN
0355-3140
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b51e529f-ef7e-45be-bade-bc362c9c12ed (old id 117148)
alternative location
http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=730
date added to LUP
2007-07-12 10:45:42
date last changed
2017-03-12 04:17:57
@article{b51e529f-ef7e-45be-bade-bc362c9c12ed,
  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.},
  author       = {Persson, Roger and Örbaek, Palle and Ursin, Holger and Kecklund, Göran and Österberg, Kai and Akerstedt, Torbjörn},
  issn         = {0355-3140},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {261--269},
  publisher    = {Finnish Institute of Occupational Health},
  series       = {Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health},
  title        = {Effects of the implementation of an 84-hour workweek on neurobehavioral test performance and cortisol responsiveness during testing.},
  volume       = {29},
  year         = {2003},
}