Understanding perceptions about the health effects of night working and the barriers and enablers to taking part in nutritional research: a qualitative study among night workers in England

Rachel Gibson, Charlotte Fitzhugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Working at night is associated with adverse cardiometabolic health outcomes. However, there are a lack of nutritional intervention studies conducted amongst night workers, subsequently contributing to a lack of evidence-based guidelines for night workers. The aim of The Eating on the Night Shift study was to understand how night shift workers view working at night in relation to nutritional health and wellbeing, the barriers and enablers to participate in research and what kind of guidance would be useful to them. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with a convenience sample (n = 18) of night workers based in England. The interview covered experiences of working night shifts, perceptions about night work and their health, and perceptions of and likely engagement with nutritional research. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were coded using an inductive thematic analysis approach. Of the final sample 13 were female (72%), 39% worked a rotating shift pattern and 78% had worked night shifts for 1 year or more. Four overarching themes were identified: (1) the consequences of night work on health and wellbeing, (2) eating at night means a less healthy diet, (3) working at night has wider knock-on effects on aspects of lifestyle and wellbeing and (4) nutritional research is perceived as important, but there are barriers to participation. Night workers are aware that working at night can negatively impact their diet as well as their health. Nutritional researchers need to engage with night workers when considering intervention design and implementation as well as in the development of any resultant evidence-based guidance to ensure its relevance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrition Bulletin
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2024

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