Stress, shift duty, and eating behavior among nurses in Central Saudi Arabia

Ali M Almajwal
Saudi Medical Journal 2016, 37 (2): 191-8

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between stress, shift work, and eating behavior among non-Saudi female nurses working in Central Saudi Arabia.

METHODS: A sample of 395 non-Saudi female nurses from 2 major hospitals in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia participated in this cross-sectional study. The nurses completed a questionnaire from November 2013 to January 2014 that included items relating to stress and eating behavior using the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ). The questionnaire also contained items pertaining to socio-demographic data, body mass index, shift work, and hours worked per week. 

RESULTS: For all eating styles, stress, and shift duty influenced the amount of food nurses consumed, but was more significant under a restrained eating style. Under this eating style, a significantly higher percentage of nurses reported eating more fast food, snacks, and binging, while fruits and vegetables were the least likely to be eaten under stress. High stressed nurses were more likely to present with abnormal restrained eating (odds ratio [OR]=1.52, p=0.004), emotional (OR=1.24; p=0.001), and external (OR=1.21; p=0.001) DEBQ scores. Working nighttime shift duty was positively associated with restrained eating (OR=1.53; p=0.029) and emotional eating (OR=1.24; p=0.001), but negatively associated with external eating (OR=0.45; p=0.001). 

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that stress and shift duty were associated with eating habits.

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