Table 1 Compressed Working Week: prospective cohort studies with a control group
StudyDesign and critical appraisal (see criteria in box 3)Setting and participantsSummary results
↑  =  improvement ↓  =  worsening ↔  =  little change
Barton-Cunningham, 1981, 198234 35Five-month and six-month follow-upsFinal sample: n = 30 (17 intervention, 13 control)Critical appraisal: 1 4 7 9Police force, CanadaPolice officers, majority menFive eight-hour shifts, two days off to Four 10-hour shifts, three days offSporting activitiesAbsenteeismTime spent on domestic choresTime spent on family mattersTime spent with spouseTime spent socialising with friendsJob satisfaction↑↔↑↑↑↑↔
Barton-Cunningham, 198936Unspecified follow-upFinal sample: n = 85 (68 intervention, 17 control)Critical appraisal: 1 7 9 10Mine, CanadaMine operatives and plant operators, young married males, age<39Five eight-hour shifts, two days off to Four 12-hour shifts, four days offAbsenceAccidentsSleep problemsTirednessFamily satisfactionSatisfaction with work↑↑↔↔↔↔
Totterdell & Smith, 199237Six-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 70 (40 intervention, 30 control)Critical appraisal: 1 2 3 5 7 9 10Police service, UKPolice officersSeven eight-hour shifts, two days off to Ottawa system (10-hour days and eight-hour nights)GHQLack of sleepFatigueHeadachesStomach achesSleep durationStressFeeling unwellIrregular mealsSleep qualityInsufficient time for familyInsufficient time for friendsInsufficient time for social lifePersonal life disruptedPlanning social life difficultDomestic arrangements difficultPoor relations with familyNot enough free timeEffective at workFatigue affects work↑↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↔↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*↑*
Lowden et al, 19983810-month follow-upChemical plant, SwedenEasy to fall asleep
Final sample: n = 46 (32 intervention, 14 control)Plant operators, mainly menRested when wake up
Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 5 7 9 10Five eight-hour shifts, three days off to two or three 12-hour shifts, up to five days offSleep qualityFatigueSufficient sleepGeneral healthTime for social/family activitiesSatisfaction with hours↑↔↔↔↑↑
Smith et al, 199839Six-month follow-upPolice service, UKSleep duration (day)↑†
Final sample: n = 45 (27 intervention, 18 control)Police officers, mainly menStandard Shiftwork Index↓†
Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 7 8 9 10Five or seven eight-hour shifts, two or three days off to site A: flexible starts with four 12-hour shifts, then four days off; or site B: rigid starts with four 12-hour shifts, then four days offSleep quality (rest)Standard Shiftwork IndexChronic fatigueStandard Shiftwork IndexPhysical healthStandard Shiftwork IndexGHQ-12WorkloadSocial/domestic interference↓†↔↔↔↑†↔
  • Effect sizes have been added to the text where appropriate and the detailed results are available in online table E1.

  • *There were significant differences between intervention and control groups at baseline.

  • †Effect disappeared when shift work experience was controlled for.