New York: Male police officers working in afternoon shifts are twice as likely to report being tired while female officers are able to cope with stress and fatigue much better, a study has showed.
“Officers who work the afternoon shift are more likely to be fatigued, which puts them at greater risk for accidents, errors and stress,” said lead author John Violanti, Professor at the University at Buffalo.
These officers were also likely to face disruption in their internal body clocks, which may impact both their mental and physical health.
Interestingly, the relationship between shift work and fatigue was not observed in women officers, the researchers observed.
“Female officers appear to use more effective types of coping with the stress and fatigue of shift work. Previous research shows that women are more likely than men to be supportive of each other to help protect against the stress of shift work,” Violanti said.
Lack of proper sleep and increased activities and responsibilities outside of work may be factors responsible for fatigue.
“Our research demonstrates a need for sleep intervention into police fatigue, including educating officers and police departments on sleep hygiene, possible use of caffeine, controlled napping and light therapy,” Violanti added.
The findings were presented at the recently held American Association of Occupational Health Nurses in Louisana, US.
For the study, researchers examined shift work and fatigue data for 308 officers, 230 of whom were men.
Researchers measured fatigue using a questionnaire which asked officers how often they felt tired most of the time. Of the 308 officers, 116 responded “somewhat” to “very much” to feeling tired.