Table 2 Compressed Working Week: other prospective studies (grouped by study design)
StudyDesign and critical appraisal (see criteria in box 3)Setting and participantsSummary results
↑  =  improvement ↓  =  worsening ↔  =  little change
Prospective cohort studies
Stinson & Hazlett, 197540One-month follow-upHospital, CanadaTired on the job
Final sample: n = 23Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 7 9 10Nurses, mainly femaleFive eight-hour shifts, two days off to three/four 12-hour shifts, four/three days offTime available for recreationNot feeling overloaded with work↑↔
Eaton & Gottselig, 198041Six-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 24Critical appraisal: 1 2 7 9 10Hospital, CanadaNurses, mainly femaleEight-hour shifts to 12-hour shiftsPersonal Health Survey:Health complaintsCardiovascular complaintsAnxietyAnger-frustrationNurses perception questionnaire:FatigueFelt more restedAbsenceAccidents and injuriesMinnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire:Job satisfactionTurnoverIncidents and errors↓↓↓↓↓↑↔↔↔↓↔
Peacock et al, 198342Six-month follow-upPolice Force, CanadaSleep duration
Final sample: n = 75Police officersAlertness
Critical appraisal: 1 7 9 10Eight eight-hour shifts, four days off to five 12-hour shifts, three days off
Rosa et al, 1989; Lewis & Swaim, 1986; Rosa, 19914345Seven-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 50Critical appraisal: 1 5 9 10Processing plant, USAControl room operators, mainly male aged 25–34Five/seven eight-hour shifts, two/four days off to three/four 12-hour shifts, three/six days offGastrointestinal state (night)Gastrointestinal state (day)ExerciseNapping after shift (night)Napping after shift (day)StressTotal sleep timeNumber of awakeningsSleep depthSleep qualitySleep latencyAdjust personal routine for workMissed social events↑↔↓↑↔↔↔↔↔↔↔↓↔
Jansen & Mull, 199046Six-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 87Critical appraisal: 1 2 7 9 10Confectionary Factory, NetherlandsPackaging department workers, all female, 46 full-time, 41 part-timeFive eight-hour shifts, two days off to three 12-hour shifts, four days offFatigueGastrointestinal complaintsTime spent with familySatisfaction with leisure time↔↔↑↔
Slota & Balas-Stevens, 199047Three-month follow-upHospital, USAAbsence
Final sample: n = 36Critical appraisal: 1 2 9 10Nurses, all femaleFive eight-hour shifts, two days off to three 12.5-hour shifts, four days offConcern about scheduling of vacation timeAbility to request time offIncidents and errorsPersonal productivity↔↔↔↔
Pierce & Dunham, 19924812-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 50Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 7 9 10Police Force, USAPolice officers, mainly maleSeven/ten eight-hour shifts, two/three days off to four 12-hour shifts, four days offPhysiological distressFatigueSchedule interference with personal activitiesStressSatisfaction with leisure timeLife satisfactionSatisfaction with organisational associationSatisfaction with workloadJob satisfactionOrganisational effectivenessPerformance↑↑↑↑↑↑↔↔↑↑↔
Williams, 199249Six-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 131Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 5 6 7 9 10Chemical Plant, USAOperators, mainly white malesSix/seven eight-hour shifts, two/four days off to three/four 12-hour shifts, two to seven days offDepressionAbsenceAccidentsGeneral life satisfactionConflict between work and non-work timeSocial/community involvementPlanning activities with familyJob satisfaction↑↔↔↑↑↔↑↔
Rosa & Bonnet, 199350Eight-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 10Critical appraisal: 1 7 9 10Gas Processing Plant, USAComputer operators, all maleFour/seven eight-hour shifts, two/three days off to two/three 12-hour shifts, two/three days offSleepiness (day)Sleepiness (night)Total sleep time (night)Total sleep time (day)Sleep depthSleep latencyNumber of awakeningsExerciseWork-related adjustment of meal timesWork-related adjustment of personal schedules↑↔↑↔↓↔↔↔↔↔
Todd et al, 199351Six-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 150Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 7 9 10Hospital, UKNurses, mainly femaleThree/four 12-hour shifts, three/four days offDissatisfaction with fatigueDissatisfaction with ease of getting childcareDissatisfaction with amount of time spent with familyDissatisfaction with how personal life is put secondJob satisfaction↓↓↓↓↓
Williamson et al, 199452Seven-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 18Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 7 9 10Computer Company, AustraliaComputer operators (80%) and supervisors (20%)Two to five eight-hour shifts, one/two days off to four 12-hour shifts, four days offLoss of appetiteGastrointestinal symptomsSleep and fatigueHeadachesIrritabilityHeart problemsGHQVisit to doctorConsumption of social drugsJob satisfaction↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↔↔↔
Freer & Murphy-Black, 199553One-month follow-upHospital, UKStress
Final sample: n = 13Critical appraisal: 1 4 5 6 9Nurses and midwives12-hour flexible shiftsEnjoyment at workMorale at work↑↑
Campolo et al, 19985412-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 20Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 9Hospital, AustraliaNurses, all femaleSix-hour morning shifts, eight-hour afternoon shifts, 9.5-hour night shifts to four 12-hour shifts, three days offFatigueGastrointestinal symptomsAbsenceSleep lengthSleep qualityWork demandsTime spent on hobbiesTime with family and friendsPerformance↑↓↔↔↔↓↑↔↔
Di Milia, 199855Two-, three-, four- and five-month follow-upsFinal sample: n = 3Critical appraisal: 1 5 9 10Coal mine, AustraliaElectricians, all maleSeven eight-hour shifts, two/four days off to four 12-hour shifts, two/eight days offSleep duration
Paley et al, 1994a; 1994b; 1998565816-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 15Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 5 9 10Fire Department, USAFire fighters, all maleFive/seven eight-hour shifts, two/three days off to two 10-hour day shifts, two 14-hour night shifts, four days offSleep length (night)Sleep length (day)Sleepiness↑↔↔
Heslegrave et al, 200059One-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 120Critical appraisal: 1 2 7 9 10Metal Mine, CanadaMining operatives, mostly maleFive eight-hour shifts, two days off (weekends) to two/three/four 10-hour shifts, two/three days offSleep duration (day)Sleep duration (night)Sleep duration (rest)Tiredness (day)Tiredness (rest)Tiredness (night)Gastrointestinal problemsHeadachesPerformance (day)Performance (night)↓↔↔↓↓↔↑↑↓↑
Johnson & Sharit, 20016011-month and 8-year follow-upsFinal sample: n = 104Critical appraisal: 1 4 7 8 9 10Manufacturing Company, USAProduction workersEight-hour rotating shifts to 12-hour rotating shiftsSleep between shiftsSleep difficultiesHealth disordersSatisfaction with systemProductivityProduction quality↑↑↑↑↑↑
Von Borkenhagen-Chandler, 200461One-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 121Critical appraisal: 1 7 9Aerospace Manufacturing Company, USAFinal assembly and flight test workersFive eight-hour shifts, two days off to four 10-hour shifts (Mon–Thurs) with three days off or three 12-hour shifts (Fri-Sun) with four days offAbsenceJob satisfaction↑↑*
Prospective repeat cross-section studies with control group
Duchon et al, 1994, 1997; Keran et al, 1994†626410-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 22 (17 intervention, 5 control)Critical appraisal: 1 4 5 7 9Metal mine, CanadaMinersSeven eight-hour shifts, two/three days off to four 12-hour shifts, four days offHealth problemsEating habitsSleep difficulties after night shiftMinor aches and painsStressStanford Sleepiness Scale:SleepinessSleep lengthFamily lifeMorale↔↑↓↓↔↔↔↑↑
Smith et al, 199865Six-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 62 (47 intervention, 15 control)Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 5 7 8 9 10Sewage treatment plant, AustraliaSewage workersSeven eight-hour shifts, two/days off to two/three 12-hour shifts, two/four days offGHQ-12:Psychological complaintsMinor health complaintsCircadian malaiseMuscular complaintsMinor infectionsDay sleep qualityNight sleep qualityTirednessFatiguePhysical healthMental healthInterference of work with home lifeInterference of work with social lifeWork-life satisfactionWork performance↑↔↔↔↔↔↔↔↔↔↔↑↑↔↔
Cydulka et al, 199466One- and six-month follow-upsFinal sample: n = 140 (27 intervention, 113 control)Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 5 7 8 9 10Hospital, USAAmbulance workers and paramedicsSix eight-hour shifts, two days off to three 12 -hour shifts, two days offSomatic distressOrganisational stressJob dissatisfaction↔↔↔
Prospective repeat cross-section studies
Heslegrave et al, 20006712-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 66Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 5 7 9 10Nuclear Power Plant, CanadaPower plant operators, mainly maleThree/four/seven nine-hour shifts, two/six days off to four 12.5-hour shifts, four days offFatigueSleepPerformance↓↔↓
Mitchell & Williamson, 200068Six-month follow-upFinal sample: n = 12Critical appraisal: 1 2 4 5 7 9 10Electrical Power Station, AustraliaPower station workers (supervisors, fire fighters, turbine operators), all maleSeven eight-hour shifts, one/two/four days off to five/six 12-hour shifts, two/three/seven days offHealth complaintsAlcohol consumptionSleep qualityAbsenceSleep disturbanceSleep lengthChronic fatiguePhysical healthGHQSomatic anxietyFeeling stressedSocial lifeDomestic lifeCoping with social lifeCoping with home lifeWork performance↑↑↑↓↔↔↔↔↔↔↔↑↑↑↑↔
  • Effect sizes have been added to the text where appropriate and the detailed results are available in online table E2.

  • †Results only presented for the intervention group.

  • *Amongst some workers only.