BACKGROUND: Continuous shift schedules are required in the petroleum industry because of its dependency on uninterrupted production. Although shiftwork affects health, less is known about its effects on social and domestic life.
METHODS: Consequently, we studied these relationships in a sample of 1697 (response rate 55.9%) petroleum workers who worked onshore and offshore for a Norwegian oil and gas company. We also examined the roles of coping strategies and locus of control for handling self-reported problems with social and domestic life. A questionnaire containing scales from the Standard Shiftwork Index and Shiftwork Locus of Control was answered electronically.
RESULTS: In general, only a few participants reported that their shift schedule affected their social and domestic/family life, and several participants had enough time to spend by themselves and with their partner, close family, friends, and children. Despite this general positive trend, differences were found for shift type and individual factors such as locus of control and coping strategies. Internal locus of control was associated positively with all the dependent variables. However, engaging problem-focused coping strategies were associated only slightly with the dependent variables, while disengaging emotion-focused coping strategies were negatively associated with the dependent variables.
CONCLUSION: Since most participants reported few problems with social and domestic/family life, the availability of more leisure time may be a positive feature of shiftwork in the Norwegian petroleum industry. Locus of control and the use of coping strategies were important for shiftworkers' social and domestic/family life.
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