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Eight- and twelve-hour shifts in Austrian rail traffic controllers: a psychophysiological comparison

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Author(s): K. WOLFGANG KALLUS | WOLFRAM BOUCSEIN | NATHALIE SPANNER

Journal: Psychology Science Quarterly
ISSN 1866-6140

Volume: 51;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 283;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Night shift regime | 8 vs. 12-hour shift | fatigue | psychophysiology | rail traffic controllers

ABSTRACT
The present study compared a 12-hour and an 8-hour shift system in 18 Austrian rail traffic controllers. To gain objective indicators for arousal and fatigue induced by the whole workrest sequence, we recorded heart rate during the last night shift, in addition to subjective measures that included physical symptoms. A higher increase of monotony, fatigue and saturation emerged during the 8-hour compared to the 12-hour regime, together with a heart rate decrease during the last 8-hour night shift. In line with other researchers, we conclude that flexible working conditions in specific occupational groups may compensate for disadvantages of prolonged working periods, giving way to advantages of longer shifts such as longer pauses and extra days off for social and other personal activities.
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