JOURNAL ARTICLE

Shiftworking families: parents' working schedule and sleep patterns of adolescents attending school in two shifts

Biserka Radosevic-Vidacek, Adrijana Koscec
Revista de Saúde Pública 2004, 38: 38-46
15608913

OBJECTIVE: To explore whether parents' engagement in shift work affects the sleep habits of their adolescent children who attend school in two shifts.

METHODS: The data were drawn from an extensive survey of sleep and daytime functioning of adolescents attending school one week in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The participants were 1,386 elementary and high school students (11-18 years old) whose parents were both employed. The data were analyzed using MANOVA, with parents' work schedule, adolescents' gender and type of school as between-subject factors.

RESULTS: Parents' working schedule significantly affected the sleep patterns of high school adolescents. When attending school in the morning, adolescents whose parents were both day workers woke up somewhat later than adolescents with one shiftworking parent. In addition, they slept longer than adolescents whose parents were both shift workers. On weekends, adolescents whose parents both worked during the day went to bed earlier than adolescents whose parents were both shiftworkers. They also had smaller bedtime delay on weekends with respect to both morning and afternoon shifts than adolescents for whom one or both parents worked shifts. A significant interaction between parents' working schedule, adolescents' gender and type of school was found for sleep extension on weekends after afternoon shift school.

CONCLUSIONS: Parental involvement in shift work has negative effects on the sleep of high school adolescents. It contributes to earlier wake-up time and shorter sleep in a week when adolescents attend school in the morning, as well as to greater bedtime irregularity.

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