DOI: 10.1002/ajim.23529 ISSN:

Synergistic interaction between long shifts and short rest periods on depression in shift workers: A cross‐sectional study from Korea

Sungjin Park, Jongin Lee, June‐Hee Lee
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health



Long shifts and short rest periods (SRP) between shifts are important factors that greatly affect shift workers' health. However, reports on the psychological effects of shift work, such as depression, have been inconsistent. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the combined effect of long shifts and SRP on depression in shift workers.


This cross‐sectional study included 3295 shift workers in the sixth Korean Working Conditions Survey. The relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI) was computed to estimate the combined effect of long shifts and SRP on depression.


Depression in shift workers was not significantly associated with long shifts or SRP after adjustment, but the risk was significantly increased when exposed to both factors simultaneously (odds ratio 1.36, 95% confidence interval 1.03–1.79). The RERI between the two factors was statistically significant (p = 0.020), indicating a synergistic interaction with depression. Sensitivity analysis by occupation showed a significant interaction in the combined group of office and service workers (p = 0.034).


Simultaneous exposure to SRP and long shifts should be avoided when planning shift work schedules or devising health policies for shift workers. Special consideration is needed for healthcare and service workers, who may be particularly vulnerable to negative health impacts due to shift work.

More from our Archive