Associations between shift work characteristics, shift work schedules, sleep and burnout in North American police officers: a cross-sectional study.

Research paper by Scott A SA Peterson, Alexander P AP Wolkow, Steven W SW Lockley, Conor S CS O'Brien, Salim S Qadri, Jason P JP Sullivan, Charles A CA Czeisler, Shantha M W SMW Rajaratnam, Laura K LK Barger

Indexed on: 05 Dec '19Published on: 04 Dec '19Published in: BMJ open


To examine associations between shift work characteristics and schedules on burnout in police and whether sleep duration and sleepiness were associated with burnout. Police officers (n=3140) completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, personal accomplishment) and self-reported shift schedules (irregular, rotating, fixed), shift characteristics (night, duration, frequency, work hours), sleep duration and sleepiness. Irregular schedules, long shifts (≥11 hours), mandatory overtime, short sleep and sleepiness were associated with increased risk of overall burnout in police. Police working a greater frequency of long shifts were more likely to have emotional exhaustion (adjusted OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.35 to 2.72) than those not working long shifts. Night shifts were associated with depersonalisation (1.32, 1.05 to 1.66) compared with not working nights. Police working mandatory overtime had increased risk of emotional exhaustion (1.37, 1.14 to 1.65) than those who did not. Compared with fixed schedules, irregular schedules were associated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation (1.91, 1.44 to 2.54 and 1.39, 1.02 to 1.89, respectively). Police sleeping <6 hours were more likely to have emotional exhaustion (1.60, 1.33 to 1.93) than those sleeping longer, and excessive sleepiness was associated with emotional exhaustion (1.81, 1.50 to 2.18). Irregular schedules and increased night shifts, sleep disturbances and work hours were related to higher burnout risk in police. Future research should evaluate work schedules in law enforcement that optimise shift duration and frequency, and increase consistency in scheduling and control over work hours to limit burnout in police. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.