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Open AccessArticle

Night-Time Shift Work and Related Stress Responses: A Study on Security Guards

Department of Sciences for Health Promotion and Mother and Child Care “Giuseppe D’Alessandro”, University of Palermo, via del Vespro 133, 90127 Palermo, Italy
Department of Prevention, Area of Protection and Safety in the Workplace, Provincial Health Authority, 95124 Catania, Italy
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Kore University of Enna, 94100 Enna, Italy
Clinical Pathology, ARNAS “Garibaldi”, 95123 Catania, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 562;
Received: 2 December 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 11 January 2020 / Published: 15 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress and Work)
Work-related stress can induce a break in homeostasis by placing demands on the body that are met by the activation of two different systems, the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system. Night-shift work alters the body’s exposure to the natural light–dark schedule and disrupts circadian (daily) rhythms. The greatest effect of night-shift work is the disruption of circadian rhythms. The impact that these disruptions may have on the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cancer, is unknown. This study aims to discover the relationship among three different job activities of security guards and their stress-related responses by evaluating salivary cortisol levels and blood pressure. Methods: Ninety security guards, including night-time workers and night-time and daily-shift workers, were recruited for this study. Each security guard provided two saliva samples before and after three scheduled time points: (i) at 22:00, (ii) at 06:30, and (iii) at 14:00. Results: The results of the study showed a significant alteration in cortisol levels. Night-time shift cortisol levels significantly increased before and after the work shifts. A physiological prevalence of the vagal tone on the cardiocirculatory activity was found during night-shift work. Conclusions: This study indicates that cortisol levels and blood pressure are sensitive markers of biological responses to severe work stress. Shift-change consequences may occur at the end of the night shift when there is a significant increase in the cortisol level and a significant variation in cardiovascular parameters. View Full-Text
Keywords: occupational stress; HPA axis activation; work-related stress; anxiety-like behavior occupational stress; HPA axis activation; work-related stress; anxiety-like behavior
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Cannizzaro, E.; Cirrincione, L.; Mazzucco, W.; Scorciapino, A.; Catalano, C.; Ramaci, T.; Ledda, C.; Plescia, F. Night-Time Shift Work and Related Stress Responses: A Study on Security Guards. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 562.

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