Factors affecting work ability in day and shift-working nurses

Donatella Camerino, Paul Maurice Conway, Samantha Sartori, Paolo Campanini, Madeleine Estryn-Béhar, Beatrice Isabella Johanna Maria Van Der Heijden, Giovanni Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Satisfactory work ability is sustained and promoted by good physical and mental health and by favorable working conditions. This study examined whether favorable and rewarding work-related factors increased the work ability among European nurses. The study sample was drawn from the Nurses' Early Exit Study and consisted of 7,516 nursing staff from seven European countries working in state-owned and private hospitals. In all, 10.8% were day, 4.2% were permanent night, 20.9% were shift without night shift, and 64.1% were shift workers with night shifts. Participants were administered a composite questionnaire at baseline (Time 0) and 1 yr later (Time 1). The Work Ability Index (WAI) at Time 1 was used as the outcome measure, while work schedule, sleep, rewards (esteem and career), satisfaction with pay, work involvement and motivation, and satisfaction with working hours at Time 0 were included as potential determinants of work ability. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted after adjusting for a number of confounders (i.e., country, age, sex, type of employment, family status, and other job opportunities in the same area). Work schedule was not related to Time 1 changes in WAI. Higher sleep quality and quantity and more favorable psychosocial factors significantly increased work ability levels. Higher sleep quality and quantity did not mediate the effect of work schedule on work ability. No relevant interaction effects on work ability were observed between work schedule and the other factors considered at Time 0. As a whole, sleep and satisfaction with working time were gradually reduced from day work to permanent night work. However, scores on work involvement, motivation, and satisfaction with pay and rewards were the highest in permanent night workers and the lowest in rotating shift workers that included night shifts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-442
Number of pages18
JournalChronobiology International
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Nursing staff
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Shift work
  • Sleep
  • Work ability index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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