Date of Conferral
Michael G. Schwab
Shift work is commonplace in many fields that require around-the-clock employee coverage. There is ample evidence that two-tier shift work can detrimentally affect health and functioning. The purpose of this study was to understand the impact of three-tier shift schedules on physical and mental health and community functioning, a concept which refers to activities and behaviors performed by individuals or groups within a system. This study used a qualitative phenomenological design, and community functioning and recovery theory were central to the conceptual framework. In-depth interviews were used to explore the perceptions of three-tier shift workers on their functioning, relationships, mental health, physical health, and safety. Special attention was paid to sleep, using restoration theory, which indicates that sufficient sleep is necessary to avoid mental and physical breakdown. The data were organized into themes, and epochÃ© and bracketing were used during the interviews and data analysis. The results of the study add to the literature on how three-tier shift schedules affect employees. Emergent themes included overwhelmingly negative perceptions of three-tier shift workers on their health and safety, difficulty adjusting to the three-tier shift schedule, negative impact on workers' personal lives, negative impact on workers' mental health, negative impact on workers' physical health, and negative impact on workers' performance and safety. These findings could lead to positive social change through policy creation on healthier shift schedules, which could result in healthier employees, stronger family units, and safer roads and worksites.