Demanding work schedules and mental health in nursing assistants working in nursing homes

Jeanne Geiger-Brown, Carles Muntaner, Jane Lipscomb, Alison Trinkoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Nursing home assistants have physically and emotionally challenging jobs, and they often work demanding schedules in order to provide 24-h care. While the physical effects of demanding work schedules have been studied, little is known about the impact on mental health. This study explored the relationship between demanding scheduling variables and mental health indicators of depression, anxiety and somatization. A cross-section of 473 US female nursing assistants working in nursing homes was surveyed. Work schedule characteristics included shiftwork, hours per day and week, days per week, number of weekends per month, number of double shifts per month, breaks, and number of jobs worked. Working two or more double-shifts per month was associated with increased risk for all mental health indicators, and working 6-7 days per week was associated with depression and somatization. There was a trend for increasing odds of adverse mental health with increased numbers of demanding work schedule factors. The odds of depression was increased four-fold when working 50+ h/week, more than two weekends/month and more than two double shifts/month. Providing work schedules that are less unhealthy may have implications for both worker retention and the quality of care delivered to nursing home residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-304
Number of pages13
JournalWork and Stress
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Oct


  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Nursing assistants
  • Nursing homes
  • Work schedule tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Demanding work schedules and mental health in nursing assistants working in nursing homes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this