Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

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Volume 51 Issue 2 (June 1978), Pages 119-207

Shiftwork and absence: An analysis of temporal trends (pages 127-137)

In the literature on shiftwork there are many studies describing interesting and complex temporal variations in employee absence behaviour, though none have had the opportunity to unravel the independent effects of shift‐turn (mornings, afternoons and nights), days of the week (Sunday to Saturday), and position in the shift cycle (start, middle and end cycle). The independent effects of these variables and their interactions were the focus of a study of 250 male steelworkers on the 6‐on 2‐off Metropolitan shift system, with certified and uncertified absence as the two dependent variables. The results were consistent with the study hypotheses, showing strong main effects for each of the three independent variables and complex interaction effects, all in relation to uncertified absence only. These findings are discussed in terms of the fresh light they shed on multiple causes of absence and the problems associated with long cycle shift systems. They also indicate that studies of temporal variations in the absence rates of shiftworkers should attempt to investigate further, or at least take some account of, shift cycle position, a powerful but neglected influence on absence.

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