Validation of a Questionnaire to Screen for Shift Work Disorder

  • Barger L
  • Ogeil R
  • Drake C
  • et al.
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STUDY OBJECTIVE At least 15% of the full-time work force is shift workers. Working during the overnight hours, early morning start times, and variable or rotating schedules present a challenge to the circadian system, and these shifts are associated with adverse health and safety consequences. Shift work disorder (SWD), a primary (circadian rhythm) sleep disorder indicated by excessive daytime sleepiness and/or insomnia associated with a shiftwork schedule, is under-recognized by primary care physicians. We sought to develop and validate a questionnaire to screen for high risk of SWD in a shift working population. DESIGN Shift workers completed a 26-item questionnaire and were evaluated by a sleep specialist (physician) who diagnosed them as either positive or negative for SWD. The physician assessment of SWD was guided by a flow chart that operationalized the ICSD-2 criteria for SWD. SETTING 18 sleep clinics in the USA. PATIENTS OR PARTICIPANTS 311 shift workers. INTERVENTIONS Not applicable. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS Responses to the items in the questionnaire were entered into a series of discrimination function analyses to determine the diagnostic value of the items and the fewest number of questions with the best predictive value. The function was then cross-validated. A final 4-item questionnaire has 89% positive predictive value and 62% negative predictive value (sensitivity = 0.74; specificity = 0.82). CONCLUSIONS This Shiftwork Disorder Screening Questionnaire may be appropriate for use in primary care settings to aid in the diagnosis of SWD.




Barger, L. K., Ogeil, R. P., Drake, C. L., O’Brien, C. S., Ng, K. T., & Rajaratnam, S. M. W. (2012). Validation of a Questionnaire to Screen for Shift Work Disorder. Sleep, 35(12), 1693–1703.

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