142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Association between Long Work Hours and Chronic Disease Risks over a 32 Year Period

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 8:30 AM - 8:46 AM

Xiaoxi Yao, PhD , Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Allard Dembe, ScD , Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies, The Ohio State University, College of Public Health, Columbus, OH
Abigail Shoben, PhD , College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Background and Objectives:  Numerous studies have shown that working long hours is related to specific adverse health and safety outcomes.  Much of the existing evidence about the effects of long work hours has involved cardiovascular diseases.  However, similar risks for other chronic disorders may also be related to lifetime exposure to long-hour work schedules.  This study utilized national survey data to assess whether workers’ long-term exposure to extended-hour schedules creates a risk for contracting chronic diseases later in life, including heart disease, non-skin cancer, arthritis, diabetes, COPD, asthma, depression, and hypertension.

Methods:The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 was used to create 32-year work histories (1978-2009) for 7,492 respondents.  The average weekly work hours were calculated for each week in which the employee worked full time (i.e., at least 30 hours per week).  Logistic regression analyses were performed to test the association between the average hours worked per week and the occurrence of each of the eight chronic diseases listed above, adjusting for age, gender, race, education, family income, number of years worked, smoking status, and occupation.

Results: Working long hours (e.g., 41-50, 51-60 and 60+ compared to 30-40 hours per week) was associated with a significantly elevated risk of chronic heart disease, non-skin cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.  The observed effects were larger and more significant among women than among men. 

Conclusions: Working long hours significantly increased workers’ risk of contracting specific chronic diseases.  Women might be disproportionally affected by long work hours compared to men.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between working long hours and the risk of chronic disease occurrence later in life. Determine how the observed relationship of long work hours with chronic disease varies between men and women Discuss the potential reasons why women are more affected by long-hour work schedules than men, with respect to chronic disease risk

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Chronic Disease Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD candidate at the Ohio State University, College of Public health. I have background and experience in public health research and statistical analysis, and have good familiarity with the field of work organization and hours of work. I contributed to the design and execution of several occupational health research projects, including a CDC/NIOSH R21 grant.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.