Psychophysical conditions of air traffic controllers evaluated by the standard shiftwork index

Giovanni Costa, Gert Schallenberg, Alberto Ferracin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the ambit of a large epidemiological survey on the Italian population of air traffic controllers, an evaluation of their health conditions was carried out using the Standard Shiftwork Index (SSI). The study took into consideration 572 male air traffic controllers, aged between 23 and 59 years, of whom 301 were engaged in three large Regional Centres, 189 in thirteen Airport Towers and 82. formerly active controllers, were working in administrative offices. The former controllers showed worse health levels, in particular minor psychological disorders and chronic fatigue. Sixteen of them had been transferred to administrative jobs because of health impairment, owing to severe diseases of the nervous, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems. Such disorders, and musculoskeletal ones, were mostly reported by the active controllers. The controllers engaged in Regional Centres showed more sleep disturbances than those engaged in towers. Beside age, some personal characteristics appeared to influence health and well-being. Neuroticism was correlated with chronic fatigue, digestive and cardiovascular complaints, minor psychological disorders, cognitive and somatic anxiety. On the other hand, morningness was correlated negatively with sleep disturbances on morning shift, and positively with sleep duration both on morning shift and rest days.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-288
Number of pages8
JournalWork and Stress
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Air traffic controllers
  • Health
  • Personal characteristics
  • Questionnaires
  • Shiftwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychology(all)


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