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People Employed For Shift Work Social Work Essay

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Over the last decade in India , boom in the IT and the BPO sector brought about an increase in the number of people employed for shift work . Employers face tough competition from other companies and the global business environment . In order to increase productivity and to make themselves available to employers and consumers based abroad , many companies work round the clock and have made provisions for night shift work . Increase in job opportunities in this sector has also given rise to dual earner families and more women entering the work force , working in day shifts as well as non standard work hours . This paper focuses on women who work in the night shift . While night shift jobs may have its perks and financial benefits , there are many disadvantages that add to the stress of the daily life of the employees . To explain night shift schedule , it can be defined as work schedule that is full time , extending after midnight with atleast 8hours and 5 days work , which means that the employees are expected to work in the dark and sleep during the day , bringing in major alterations to their life styles and the life styles of those living with them . Night shift work can vary in terms of fixed or rotating patterns . In a fixed schedule , the employee works in the night shift on a permanent basis , where as in a rotating schedule , the employee alters between day shifts , evening and night shifts depending on the arrangements made by the employers .

Physical and mental Health

There have been numerous studies conducted to examine the effects night shift work has on health , sleep , circadian rhythms and mental health . Findings from research studies that explore health disorders of shift workers stated that there is a relationship between certain medical disorders and shift work . Evidence stated that heart and gastro intestinal problems and complications in pregnancy outcomes , ulcers were some of the medical disorders commonly faced by shift workers (Knuttson 2003 ) .A study conducted on nurses working in

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the night shift reported that shift workers have a higher prevalence of physiological problems like digestion problems caused by change in eating patterns, inadequate sleep , fatigue , colds , muscle pains , cramps and heart problems .

Disturbance to the normal sleep cycle or the circadian rhythms is likely to cause shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), especially when employees are working in the night shift for prolonged periods . Insomnia and excessive sleepiness while working non standard schedules are the primary signs of SWSD . Desire to take short naps , dozing off while at work , shorter and lowered quality of sleep , poor work performance , reduced mental accuracy are some of the negative effects brought about by SWSD , which inturn leads to the expression of psychological syptoms like irritability , anger , erratic mood and depression . A study conducted on dairy workers in India working in the night shift examined stress levels , health and mood states and provided evidence that night shift workers face higher work stress , negative mental health outcomes and life stress . Role over load , increased work -home conflict , role ambiguity were significant indicators of increased stress levels and mood states

. Findings also indicated that night shift work did increase physcial , physiological , psychological and social problems when compared to day shift workers (Srivastava , 2010 ) .

There has been an upsurge of interest in studying mental health effects of shift workers .Early research studies have shown evidence that night shift work is associated with depression . Findings from a study that examined the effects of physical health and mental depression due to night shift in nurses revealed that disruption in the circadium rhythm has a direct influence on physical health and depression , reducing quality of life and affecting work performance and social relations . Another model in this study suggested that job schedule limited participation in social activities , affecting social and personal life leading to depression . (Skipper & Jung , 1990 ) . Burn out , lethargy , exhaustion , irritability , anger or psychological symptoms like irritability , depression not only affect personal well being ,

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but can also affect one's social life and satisfaction of their marital relationship (Fam , Econ

& Iiss , 2007) . The negative consequences that affect physical , psychological , psychosocial well being can seep into the workers marriage , reducing the quality , stability and satisfaction of marital relationship adding to existing stressors .

Since this paper focuses on marital satisfaction of night shift workers and the strategies they use to make their marriage work , the definition of marital satisfaction will help gain an understanding as to what this paper purports to examine and the aspects that need to be considered . According to Stone (2007) Marital satisfaction reflects a mental state of percieved benefits and costs of a marriage to a particular person . The more costs the partner inflicts on a person , the less satisfied one generally is with their marriage and with their marriage partner . Similarly the greater the percieved benefits are , the more satisfied one is with their marriage and their marriage partner . Some of the components that come under marital satisfaction would be leisure time spent together , communication , conflict resolution etc . But the challenges that shift workers have to face in their marriage is to face new demands posed due to their work schedule . This would involve them to make adjustments on the home front , especially for female employees , since they have added roles and responsibilities to perform . For a marriage to work , one of the important aspects of marital satisfaction is leisure time spent together . But for a night shift worker , because of the work schedule , quality time and the quality of leisure time spent together would be lower . Quality time would involve the married partners to indulge in favoured activities and pursue shared interests . Weekends seem to be the only time workers could indulge in leisure time with their partners . For a night shift worker , weekends would be used to recuperate from the week's stress , which could lead to lowered quality of leisure time spent together . Leisure satisfaction especially if the leisure activities performed are favoured by the couple is related to marital satisfaction (Heather , Zabriskie , Hill & Brian , 2009) Also , Contribution to

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leisure time by night shift workers in their marriage would be less because of the disruption between the workers time off and the family's time off .

Work would come in the way of some of the family's rituals , for which the worker would be absent or too tired to be part of , like being present at the table at meal times , going out together , attending community events etc . The worker would either be working into the night or would be sleeping and recuperating from work .

Social and community life .

Since most community and social activities take place in the evening , a night shift employee would probably find difficulty in making time for such events. While weekends provide time to engage in social activities , a night shift employee might be too tired and may not be able to give in fully to social activities as their schedule and life style causes inconvenience to enjoy a social life and for the couple to participate in community activities . In a study that was conducted on families of workers working a modern shift roster , 67.2% of employees reported that night shift work frequently intervened in their social life . This could result in the worker having poor social support in the long run , unless the worker can maintain a balance between work and time for socialization . Social support also helps improve a person's psychological state , their mood and feelings about themselves .

Women shift workers challenges .

A changing work force has led to an increase in women entering the work force and women opting for non standard work schedule , challenging traditional roles that women held and bringing about changes in family dynamics . The challenges that a woman shift worker has to face is to fulfill multiple roles ie to fulfill family and role obligations , needs and expectations of the family , fulfill social obligations by being part of community activities and fulfill responsibilities at the work front . Women face more role strain when compared to men as a result , night shift work exacerbates and intensifies the stress that women employees have

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to face . For a married woman night shift worker maintaining work to home balance and reducing work-home conflict would be a major hurdle .

Cambridge dictionary defines work-home balance as the "amount of time you spend doing the job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy" . Shift work is linked with work-home conflict and this conflict is faced more by women when compared to men (Tuttle & Garr , 2012) .

Barnett and Baruch ( 1985 ) define.role balance as "rewards minus concerns" , more rewards recieved from a particular role and less concerns experienced would lead to a positive role qualtiy where in lower levels of role conflicts,role overload and anxiety is faced . Considering that employed women working the night shift face role strain , rewards recieved in one of the roles could reduce role conflict and stress and increase well being . If family support is one of the positive role quality on the home front , it is likely that job involvement and control over job would increase .

Following role theory , Greenhaus (2003) in his theory of work-home balance , describes work home balance as a continuum where in imbalance in family role lies on one end and balance in work role lies at the other . Greenhaus theory on work - family enrichment includes three concepts . Time balance ie equal time invested , Involvement balance ie psychological effort and physical presence expressed and Satisfaction balance ie rewards and satisfaction recieved from both work and family front . Frone (2003) views work-family balance as bi directional . Engaging in one role or domain can either create conflicts or enhances the other domains . Involvement in the family role can either enhance the work domain or create conflicts in the work domain and involvement in work domain can wither create conflicts or enhance the family domain .

Stress .

Bodenmann ( 2005 ) defines stress as a dyadic phenomenon which involves common

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concerns , emotional intimacy between the partners and maintaining a close relationship .

Dyadic stress concerns a stressful event which confronts the couple , the source of stress could be external , originating between the couple like job stress , culture , society , other relations etc , or could be internal , originating within one of the partners or when the stress of one of the partners seeps into relationship . The impact stress has on one couple will be different for another . It is therefore important to take into consideration the locus of stress , duration and intensity of stress . The locus of stress could either be external or internal . When there is an interaction between the social environment and the couple's relationship causing conflicts and internal stress originates within the couple relationship like job stress , personal needs and desires etc .Intensity of stress can be either major or minor and can be measured based on the impact the stressor has had on the relationship and the duration of stress can be seen as acute or chronic ie temporary or prolonged

Bodenmanns stress - divorce model analyses the effects minor daily stressors , acute or chronic in nature , on stability and functioning of marital relationships . External stressors , those coming outside the couple system can prove to be more damaging to relationships . such external stressors are usually outside of couple's conscious awareness and are minor stressors (time spent together , communication) and not major (critical life events), causing mutual alienation over time , if the stressor is persistent , causing dissatisfaction with the marital relationship ,eventually leading to divorce .

According to Bodenmann , external stressors cause impact on marital relationships by decreasing the amount of time spent together so that there are fewer joint expereiences between the couple leading to a lowered feeling of togetherness , poor coping at times of stress . This would eventually lead to a poorer quality of communication and interaction . Interaction between the couple would be largely negative , driving the couple to withdrawing from each other . These stressors leading to deterioration in the quality and stability of

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marriage would later increase risk of physical and psychological problems like trouble sleeping , sexual dysfunction etc . The impact and reaction to these stressors would eventually lead to negative expression of emotions between the couple like anger , anxiety , increasing conflicts . This entire process would lead to couples alienating and withdrawing from each other . The situation they have landed themselves in would lead to marital disatisfaction , eventually leading to divorce if the problem persists .

Bodenmann's model can be applied to a shift workers marriage . Since night shift schedule makes it inconvenient for the couple to indulge in shared experiences and quality time . The job schedule and stress from the job can be seen as a stressor that doesn't permit quality time between the couple . The couple might feel that the amount of time spent together is less eventually leading to poor quality of interaction . When joint experiences shared are lower and the amount of interaction between the couple is low , there could be instances when one of the partner feels lonely and might percieve that the quality of their marriage is deteriorating leading to expression of negative emotions like anger , frustration , sadness . Eventually appraising their marriage as dissatisfying .

The effects that shift work has on the physical and mental health of workers can seep into their marital relationships . They sleep during the day when the entire household is active which disturbs their sleep adding to marital distress . Psychological symptoms like irritability , depression can bring down the level of satisfaction of their marriage . Since they feel tired and fatigued frequently , engaging in leisure activities with their spouses becomes difficult . With there being hardly any time for contact , communication becomes difficult

between the spouses , which is essential in a relationship . There are many problems that night shift work poses to a workers marriage . This study seeks to find strategies that workers who are satisfied in their marriages use to overcome problems induced by night shift work .

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Rationale : There have been studies conducted to understand and analyse the impact shift work has on the lives of employees , their physical and mental health , social life and their families .With many of the problems faced by shift workers being covered , this study seeks to gain insight into what makes a shift workers marriage work and explores strategies they use to make their marriage work and to study how night shift employees maintain work - home balance .

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Review of literature

Following studies discussed analyze the effects shift work has on health , general well being , and on marital relations .

This study analyses the impact that non standard work hours versus standard work hours has on marital satisfaction in five domains which are global distress , problem solving communication , time together , sexual dissatisfaction and affective communication , measured by marital satisfaction inventory , which is a 280 item questionaire that assesses certain domains of marital satisfaction .30 employees who worked the day shift and 20 night shift employees at Western Union in New jersey were selected for the study . The research was built around 5 hypotheses . Hypotheses 1 predicted that day shift workers when compared with non day shift workers would display higher levels of marital satisfaction . Hypotheses 2 predicts that day shift workers would express better problem solving communication and there would be fewer conflicts in their marriage when compared to non day shift workers . Hypotheses 3 predicted that the time spent in quality and leisure time by day shift workers with their spouses would be higher when compared to non day shift workers . Hypotheses 4 predicts that day shift workers would experience higher levels of sexual satisfaction with their spouses when compared to non day shift workers .Hypotheses 5 predicted that day workers would be more content in their marriage because of the affection and understanding provided by their spouses . ( Lauf-Goldstein ,1990) research findings could not support the predictions of any of the hypotheses . Unlike many other studies on shiftwork's influence on marriage , this study proved that there was not much difference in marital satisfaction between day shift and non day shift workers.

The study summarises the effects and consequences of shift work while discussing some of the benefits of shift work ( Finn ,1981). The information for this article is derived from many of the studies conducted on employees who work non standard hours in and

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outside the U.S.A . Some may accept night shift work because of lack of job opportunities while some would use their night shift work schedule as an opportunity to hold a part time day job as well or pursue education during the day . Night shift work also provides for financial incentives and accomodates employees who function better at night than during the day . The drawbacks are that it takes a toll on ones health , interfering with the normal sleep cycle and reducing the quality of sleep and appetite and causing physical and emotional problems . On the job accidents would also rise if the employees would have to handle machinery . In terms of family life , shift workers experience more work - home conflict because of the discrepency between the workers time off and the spouse's time off . The workers spouse would have to adjust to the shift workers job schedule and would have to alter their patterns to their working spouse's atypical pattern inorder to be able to spend quality time for leisure , meals and recreation . This would take a toll on the mental and physical health of the shift workers spouse especially if theyre working the day shift . The time a shift worker gets to spend time with family could also be poor in quality because they experience fatigue and sleepiness and would find difficulty in carrying out normal activities with their spouses or would show less interest in attending social events or go out together to spend quality time . Sexual activity is another aspect that is interfered by night shift work .In terms of social life , it becomes difficult for a shift worker to attend events for which they're invited by their friends . It becomes difficult for the spouse to plan any social activity before hand . From this article it becomes evident that shift work impairs one's physical and mental health , their family life , job safety and social life .

A study conducted in Netherlands examines the effects non standard shifts have on partnership quality through semi structured interviews . Findings reveal that women were more dissatisfied with varying hours , especially if they had children , as it created stress

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when compared to men . Men found varying hours more comfortable for tag team parenting . The research explored into the relationship between non standard hours and its effects on marriage . The results indicated a weak link between non standard shift and relationships indicating that non standard work hours did not reduce relationship quality. The study also found that partner support in families with night shift workers , expressed more satisfaction with their relationship which reduced the negative effects that non standard work has on relationships ( Mills & Kadri , 2010) .

This study assessed both percieved family well being and stressors influenced by non standard work schedule in two studies (Kelly , Amy & David , 2008). The goal of this study was to assess work-family spill over and whether the spill over was positive or negative and if working non standard work hours decreased marital instability . The study was conducted on 1166 people aged between 25 - 74 . Findings of the study revealed that night shift work increased marital instability and also increased negative work - home spill over , which are the attitudes , experiences of work transferred to home . Since night shift work can come in the way of ones sleep cycle causing fatigue and stress , the stress gets carried into the workers family life .Stress increases with the presence of a child at home since workers have the added responsibililty to care for the child and causes stress at a daily level .

This study investigates the association between shift work and family satisfaction and goes a step further by including people from different work backgrounds into their sample instead of analysing people from one company or a particular type of work . This study also examines different categories of shift from day , evening , night , rotating to split shift and hypothesises that workers experience family satisfaction in degrees , with satisfaction being higher for day shift and lessens as it progresses towards split shift . The study also examines the relationship between the number of work hours , job autonomy and nature of job on family satisfaction . Findings indicated that being in a non standard , non flexible job reduced

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family satisfaction , especially for evening and night shift workers (Davis , Goodman , Piretti & Almeida , 2008). The study also revealed that job autonomy and the nature of the job and work atmosphere resulted in high family satisfaction , since work - family spillover would be less .

168 fire personnel from 3 working shifts were part of this study . The purpose of this study was to examine the effects that the 3 types of shift work has on emotional exhaustion as it pertains to work - family conflict and social support (Jonathon & Halbesleben , 2009). The subjects were made to complete measures on emotional exhaustion , work - family conflict and support and demographic controls .The study revealed that work to home conflict increases when the shift work is more demanding and when time spent at home is less

. This work - home conflict can also contribute to emotional exhaustion in fire fighters . The support that an employee recieves from ones family can break down the stress that an employee faces at night shift work . The study suggests that the schedule should make allowance for the employees to be able to spend more time at home , so that with quality time spent with family could lead to building emotional support for the night shift employee .

This research study examines the relationship between shift work and work to family fit . The study hypothesis that employees working in the non standard shift would have poor work to family fit when compared to those employees working in the day shift or flexible hours and also examines if negative work - home spillover would be less if the employees had control over their work schedule . The study took 2008 national study of workforce to examine the influence shift work has over employees . (Tuttle & Garr 2012) indicated that shift work did largely influence work - home conflict , especially in female employees even if the control over shift schedule was more . In the case of men , the results revealed that men had less work to family conflict when they had a greater control over their schedule .

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This study examines the effects of shift work on marital quality on six domains .

Marital happiness , interaction , disagreements , general problems , sexual problems and child related problems (White & Keith 1990) . National panel of 1668 men and women were interviewed.. The result revealed that shift work does have a negative impact on marriage . Every domain that the study examined were also affected negatively due to shift work .

This study investigates the effects night shift has on marital relations (Messer , 1992) . 65 married men , with 19 full time employees at grocery stores and 46 full time employees of the southern california state departments were chosen for the study.. The employees worked consistent morning , evening , night and rotating shifts . Marital satisfaction inventory was used to assess the level of marital satisfaction / distress . Findings revealed that night shift workers experienced higher work - home conflict when compared to day shift workers . The study predicted that people working in consistent day shifts , evening shift , night shift ,and inconsistent rotating shifts would experience different levels of job satisfaction . The results suggest that employees working different shifts express different levels of job satisfaction , with rotating shift workers being most dissatisfied with their work schedule because of the inconsistency of the work schedule .

The impact of different timings of work and rotating shift on Work - home conflict , job satisfaction and health among the military police is the focus of the study . The study was conducted on 3122 Dutch military police . (Demerouti , Sabine , Arnold & Euwema , 2004) revealed that non day shift work resulted in work - home conflicts . The findings also revealed that employees from the rotating shifts experienced low job satisfaction since it is inconsistent

. Consistency in the timing of shift even if its a non standard work hour didn't result in low job satisfaction when compared to rotating shifts , but only incr eased work - home conflict .

An article in hindustan times reports that night shift work can disrupt ones life in many ways . David maumes research on the effects of shift work on marriage suggests that

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both men and women feel that night shift work affects and strains their marital relations . Women are more affected than men by shift work due to role strain . It becomes difficult for them to manage time and to fulfill responsibilites at home , engage with their family members and care for them when compared to men causing strain in their marriage and increasing work -home conflict .

The study is built around three themes .Economic trade offs , family routines and emotional adjustments (Handy ,2010) . With night shift work comes financial benefits . In many families , the members have to adjust around the shift workers routines and patterns , spouses would have to give up their own jobs so as to manage family life . Financial benefits comes in handy , making it comfortable to rely on the shiftworker while the spouse takes care of the family , resorting to traditional family roles .the study also focuses on emotional health of the shift worker . The physiological and psychological effects of shift work could take a toll on ones emotional well being In terms of family routines , the workers had little knowledge of the family routines , since the spouse takes prmary responsibilty to ensure that the family members rituals fall in line with the workers . This shows the amount of effort spouses expend to make the marriage work and play a part in reducing work to home conflicts

Psychopathological symptoms caused by night shift work and its influence on the quality of life of health workers is examined in this study (Dusunen ,2010) . 45 nurses working the night shift were the sample for this study . Symptom checklist and short form 36 was used to measure psychopathological symptoms and quality of life . Night shift nurses reported higher scores for somatization , obsessive compulsive , interpersonal sensitivity , anxiety , paranoid ideation and global severity scores than day shift workers . Shift work also reduced the quality of life and the night shift nurses scored higher on pain and physical function . The study's implications were to improve the quality of life of the nurses by adjusting their work schedule , keeping in mind the influence night shift has on their

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psychological state.

While most studies indicate that night shift work can reduce marital satisfaction and increase work - home conflict , there are few studies which have proved that night shift work doesn't affect marital relationships . Employees with better control over their schedule and job autonomy and job satisfaction showed having a better family life and marital satisfaction as work - home conflict is less . Greenhaus and powell (2006) came up with a theory called work to family enrichment , a concept that explains that being able to manage time , carrying over the positive mood from work back home and using networks from work to help their families lessened work to home conflict . Some studies also indicate the possibility that couples working the night shift score high on marital satisfaction because they already have conflicts with their spouses , not induced by working the night shift . They find night shift work convenient as they can avoid conflicts at home and interacting with their partners .

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CHAPTER 4

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

This chapter presents results in a tabular format following content analysis . The responses were coded , categorized and placed under a broad category of themes .

Following each table expansive responses as examples are provided by the participants , representing each theme .

Analysis .

Content analysis for the first question "Mention some of the advantages of working in the night shift" revealed 5 themes and are mentioned in a table below .

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Table 1.Mention some of the advantages of working in the night shift

Category

Sub - categories

Number of responses

Advantages of night shift.

More pay

5

Travelling easier

4

Find time for chores

3

Husband has experience

2

in the same field.

The second most frequent theme which accounted for 40% of the responses is easy commuting while working in the night shift . Respondent 9 stated that ,

Respondent 3 stated that "travel time to office and back home is less " and "the roads are relatively empty while getting out " says respondent 8 . Travelling to and from work becomes more convenient as traffic will be smooth and the stress involved in travelling

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reduces considerably.

30% of the participants responses falls under a category termed as "Find time for chores" . These participants find night shift work favourable as it allows time to complete chores during the day . The following response given by respondent 9 will help describe this theme .

Table 2

Can you list the problems you face working in the night shift

Category

Sub category

Frequency of responses

Disadvantages of night shift.

Less time with partner

15

Health issues

14

Partner frustrated.

4

Worries about having a baby.

4

Normal routine affected

4

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Relationships and friendships 2 affected.

Analysis for this question revealed 6 themes under the category "Disadvantages of night shift". The most apparent theme seen as a disadvantage of working in the night shift is "less time with partner" .This theme was frequently repeated across the responses and occured 15 times in the responses . Discrepencies between the participant's time off and the spouse's time off would allow the couple less time to interact with each other . As respondent 2 puts

it ,

The second most frequent theme appearing 10 times across the responses is "Health issues" Under the category of health issues , there are 3 sub categories labelled as digestive functions affected , Tired and lethargic and sleep affected . Quotations given below are typical of the themes that have been mentioned for the category labelled "health" . According to respondent 6 ,

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Table 3

List the ways in which your relationship changed after taking up night shift work

Category

Sub category

Frequency of responses.

Challenges in relationship

Less time with partner

15

Increase in conflicts

3

Sex life affected

5

Spouse doesn't approve of

2

this shift

No change in relationship.

2

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Table 4

What measures have you taken to deal with these changes

Category

Sub Category

Frequency of responses

Measures to deal with

Spend quality time on weekends

13

changes

Looking for other jobs/shifts

6

Spend time before work or between

6

schedules

Eat atleast one meal together

4

Follow a set routine

2

Communicate over the phone

2

Try to compromise and make

2

adjustments

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Some of the participants have also managed to adjust to a fixed routine that allows them to spend some time with their partners during weekdays . Following a fixed schedule reduces the stress of having to juggle with responsibilities . The worker and their family would know what to expect and what they should do at a given time , their families would also have adjusted to the worker's routine . Change in their routine could also leave them upset and disappointed .

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Table 5.

What measures have you taken to avoid your job schedule from interfering with your marriage/family life?What measures have you taken to maintain a balance between your job and family life?

Category

Sub Category

Number of responses

Work - home balance

Partner helps with chores

14

Not bring work home

6

Following a set routine

2

Hire help

2

Try to help whenever possible

2

The above two questions explore strategies that participants use to function at work and home with minimum conflict . The main category labelled "Work - home balance " has 6 themes ca of which "partner helps with chores" is most apparent . Participants manage to balance work and home life because they recieve partner support in helping with chores , eliminating to some extent the stress of having to take care of all the domestic responsibilities while managing work pressure . Some of the responses given by the participants stress that there is a clear definition of responsibilities between the participants while some have stated that their partners support them by helping with chores but there is no clear definition of responsibilities and roles between the couple . Responses by respondent 10 will illustrate this theme ,

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Another strategy that occured as frequently as 6 times under the category " work home balance" was "Not bring work home " . These participants preferred to finish work within shift timings so that they could avoid carrying work home or stay over time at work . Respondent 6 quoted that ,

Around 20% of the participants follow a set routine as a way of maintaining work and home balance . A fixed schedule or a set routine perhaps gives these participants a sense of control and equips them to deal with day to day issues in an organized manner . Although , the family might find difficulty initially in getting used to the routine , they would eventually be aware of what to expect and incorporate the worker's routine into theirs .

Around 20% of the respondents stated that a hired help to do the daily chores helped maintain work-home balance , since most of the unpleasant tasks for which the workers would be too tired to fulfill like cleaning , washing is taken care of . As respondent 10 quoted ,

Finally , a few participants mentioned that they "try to help whenever they can" , since they're too stressed and tired to take care of domestic responsibilities .

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Table 6.

How do you and your partner manage time for quality interaction and family activities

Category

Sub Category

Number of responses

Spending quality time on

13

weekends

Quality time.

Apply weekly offs on same day

4

with partner

Spend time before work or between

6

schedules

Eat atleast one meal together

4

Keep time off for partner

2

With hectic schedules that leave hardly any time to spend with spouses , night shift workers manage to find time only on weekends , which they try and use effectively by spending quality time with their partners .

Few of the participants have also applied for their weekly offs the same day as their partner's to be able to spend more time together . This becomes much more convenient to maintain a social life since the couple could devote their weekly offs to spend some quality time together and their weekends to socialize .

A small percentage of participants from this study have been able to make arrangements that allow the participants some time with their partner before they begin their night shift schedule . Respondent 6 comments illustrate that ,

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Around 40% of the participants insist on having atleast one meal together with their spouse or family to stay connected and to spend some quality time with their families .

20% of the participant's manage to keep some time off for their spouse to interact and spend quality time .

Table 7.

How do you and your partner resolve conflicts ?

Category

Sub Category

Number of respones

Conflict resolution

Talking out issues

9

Move on from argument

3

Leave the fight

2

Accepting the situation

2

Conflicts not due to schedule

2

Under the category labelled "Conflict resolution" which has five themes , "talking out issues" seems to be the most frequently occuring theme . Most participants prefer to discuss their issues and come to an agreement with their husbands as an apporach to resolving conflicts .

Respondent 2 has quoted that ,

30% of the participants prefer to deal with the issue and move on from the argument instead of carrying it over to the next day , they listen to what each other have to say and leave the

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argument .

Few participants prefer to disengage from the argument and leave and ignore the issue .

Accepting financial conditions and the work schedule seems to help a few participants resolve their conflicts . They believe that fewer conflicts emerge because they have accepted the situation they are in .

20% of the participants stated that their conflicts aren't related to their work or schedule .

Table 8

.How do you manage to socialize or be part of social events while working in the night shift?

Category

Sub category

Number of responses

Social life

Socialize on weekends or holidays

5

Don't attend events

2

Most participants prefer keeping aside their weekends to spend with their partners and socialize . Around 50% of the participants spend time with their friends on weekends or on other holidays . Few participants reported that they prefer to avoid most social events that fall on weekdays , they only attend events that are important .

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Table 9.

What are the strengths of your marriage that keeps your marriage going inspite of working in the night shift and dealing with various stressors at home and work ?

Category

Sub category

Number of responses

Strengths of marriage

Understanding between partners

8

Supportive and understanding partner

8

Love for each other

3

Reasonable demands and expectations .

2

Positive aspects of the participants marriage like mutual understanding , spouse's qualities , love for each other and making reasonable demands seem to keep the workers marriage going . The most frequent theme occuring under a broad category labelled "strengths of marriage" is "understanding between partners" .

Most participants believe that they can carry on in this schedule because their partners are understanding and supportive . The partners are aware of the participants work demands and limitations and help the participants with domestic responsibilities or by lending their ears to the participants problems .

30% of the participants stated that love exists between them and their partners which helps in staying committed to their marriage despite the stress they face from work and other sources .

Understanding each other's limitation and strength has led 20% of the participants and their husbands to make reasonable demands ad have rational expectations of each other . According to respondent 11

DISCUSSION

Themes and sub-themes that emerged from content analysis have been discussed in line with the objectives of the study . The results of certain studies that seem to be consistent with some of the themes have also been discussed . The themes that emerged from the study have answered the research objectives that are mentioned below :

The following table will represent themes and sub themes that emerged during analysis along with the research objectives .

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Table 1.

Themes and sub themes

Objectives

Themes

Sub themes

To find out the advantages of

Advantages of working in the

More pay

working in the night shift

night shift

Travelling easier

Find time for domestic chores

Husband has experience in

the same field

To find out the difficulties

Disadvantages of working in

Less time with partner

faced due to working in the

night shift

Health issues

night shift

Partner frustrated

Normal routine affected

Worries about having a baby

Relationships and friendship

affected

To understand the difficulties

Changes in relationship with

Increase in conflicts

faced by women night shift

partner

Sex life affected

workers in their marriage life

Spouse doesn't approve of

this shift

No change in relationship

To find out the measures

Measures to deal with

Spend quality time together

night shift workers use to

changes

on weekends

overcome their difficulties

Looking for other jobs/shift

Communicate over the phone

Try to compromise and make

adjustments

To identify strategies night

Work - Home balance

Partner helps with chores

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shift workers use to maintain

Not bring work home

work-home balance

Avoid staying beyond work

hours

Follow a schedule

Hire help

Get enough rest

Try to help whenever

possible.

To identify strategies night

Quality time

Spend quality time on

shift workers use to balance

weekends

their work and marriage

Apply for weekly offs on

same day

Spend time before work or

between schedules

Eat atleast one meal together

Partner support

Sharing responsibilities

Emotional support

Understanding and supportive

partner

Discuss work issues with

partner

Conflict resolution

Talking out issues

Move on from argument

Leave the fight

37

Accepting situation

Conflict not due to night shift

Marriage strengths

Understanding between

partners

Love for each other

Reasonable demands and

expectations

One of the objectives of the study was to identify the advantages of working in the night shift to illuminate the positive sides of night shift schedule and to understand if these advantages were reasons enough for the participants to continue in this shift . While most participants agreed that night shift paid more , some said that the pay didn't really attract them considering the amount of problems they had to face while working in this shift . Two participants stated that higher pay helped them fulfill their financial needs and were the reasons why they continued in this shift .

Four participants stated that travelling to and from work is easier and faster as it gives them an escape from day time traffic and there's less dust and pollution in the night . They reach home quicker and get to work usually on time . A few participants show a preference to night shift schedule because it allows them time to complete their chores during the day . These participants may also be working in a shift which allows them to get back home and sleep before daylight , unlike shifts that end at 5 or 6am in the morning . In respondent 9's words ,

"I get a lot of time during the day to do my things since i get back by 3 and wake up by 11.30 . My husband usually cooks breakfast and i prepare lunch for myself and dinner for us " .

One of the participants stated that the advantage to working in the night shift was that it gave her a sense of having a longer weekend since she had to log in to work on

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monday nights , which gave her one extra day which she used to do her chores and pay bills and help her in-laws . She also liked her work environment because there were fewer supervisors to report to .

The second objective of the study " To find out the difficulties faced due to working in the night shift " was to explore the negative sides of working in the night shift schedule . All participants of this study affirmed that not having enough time to spend with their partners was the main disadvantage of their job schedule . There exists a dissonance between the worker and their partner's time off . When the worker gets back home she is either sleeping or tired to engage with her partner and its time for her partner to leave for work , her partner returns from his shift when she leaves for work . The only free time they get to interact with their partner is on their off days or weekends .

Accorrding to Martin . R(2011) in a study conducted to compare health and well being of nurses working in the night shift versus the day shift , night shift nurses reported symptoms of gastric problems , headaches , frequent cold , headaches and sleep difficulties when compared to day shift nurses . In this study one of the frequently emerging theme was health issues . Three participants reported having acidity because of an irregular eating pattern . They eat in the night while they're working and skip breakfast . In respondent 9's words ,

"I tend to skip meals or snack when i'm at work so acidity is another problem"

Three participants also revealed that their sleep was disrupted because of the noise during the day and not because their biological clocks were reversed . They also reported feeling tired and lethargic easily . Poor eating patterns , work stress and sleep disturbances could have led them to feel tired and lethargic easily . Respondent 9 also stated that sun exposure causes her to feel tired and lethargic because she isn't normally exposed to the sun or daylight ,

"Because i'm so used to working in the night and sleep during the day , my eyes hurt

39

when i step out in the sun at times and feel tired and lethargic when i spend some time outside in the sun because there is AC in the office and i sleep during the day "

Four participants stated that they want to switch to day shift because of possible health problems involved with working in their present schedule .

Because of the discrepency between the participant and her spouse's time off , they hardly find time to interact with each other leaving the partner frustrated . Partners would have to adjust to the worker's routine and job schedule and would also have to alter their patterns to their working spouse's atypical pattern inorder to be able to spend quality time for leisure , meals and recreation . From the responses it was noted that most spouses were unhappy and didn't approve of the participants shift and preferred it if the participants shifted to the day shift or found another job .

Three participants stated that their normal routines were affected , they were used to working in the night and sleeping during the day , a sense of disharmony in their usual routine was noticed especially on their off days and when they were on vacation .

Few participants were worried about their future if they continued in their present schedule . Their worries were pertaining to having babies and wondered how they would deal with the stress of managing the upbringing of their child while working in their present schedule . Two participants were worried their job would interfere with their marriage if they continued in the night shift and are planning to request for a flexible shift or move to the day shift .

. Since night shift workers have a job schedule that is different from their friends and family their lifestyle is different when compared to people around them , making it difficult for them to stay connected to their friends . Weekends are used for recupertating from their week's stress and spending quality time with their spouses , leaving very less time for friends . They would also miss social or community events that take place during the week . From the

40

responses , most participants agreed that they don't attend most social events and attend only those that are important for which they take leave from work or attend for a short duration . One participant said that because of the dissonance between her and her friends schedule , she often feels isolated because of not being able to make time for friends and family .

The third objective , " To understand the difficulties faced by women night shift workers in their married life ", was to analyse the nature of problems they faced as a result of their schedule . The most common issue faced in the marriage of the participants was increased conflicts . This theme can be linked to two themes discussed above labelled "less time for partner" and "partner frustrated" . Dissonance between their schedule leads to the couple not being able to spend enough quality time together causing both partner and the participant to get frustrated eventually leading to conflicts and arguments . It has been stated by a few participants not having much time for quality interaction is the root of their conflicts . In respondent 4 words ,

"I am unable to spend more time with him , number of fights have increased "

An aspect of the participants married life that has had an impact by the schedule is their sex life . Three participants in their responses declared that they are too tired for intimacy which also led to conflicts . One participant had responded that because she didn't find any time for her husband or felt too tired to engage with her husband , he had thought she had lost interest in him . These instances lead to frustration in the worker and her spouse setting off arguments and disappointment creating a feeling that things aren't they way it used to be .

Difficulities that the worker and her spouse face in their marriage has led the spouse to express disapproval towards the worker's job schedule . In one case , the partner has taken it upon himself to a find new job for the participant and has been actively posting resumes on job portals online and sending it out to his friends .Six participants have stated that their husbands want them to find a new job more feasible shift timings .

41

Two participants denied that their schedule created conflicts in their marriage . On further analysis , it was noted that these participants had been working in the night shift even before they were married . Their husbands were aware of their schedule and the nature of the job . Their spouses when compared to other participants wouldn't have had to make a drastic change in their lifestyle and in their married life since they were part of the participant's schedule from day one of their marriage .

Having discussed the nature of problems women night shift workers face due to their job schedule the next objective is to "identify strategies women night shift workers use to overcome their difficulties " . Of the strategies that were discussed , the most frequently used method of perhaps making up for the difficulties faced by the couple was spending quality time on weekends . They did this by going out , pursuing shared interests or staying home and cooking together and renting movies if going out was stressful . Participant 10 stated quoted that,

"I think i have been quite accomodative to his interests . So weekends i try to get out and work on his schedule "

It could be said that this respondent may be trying toaccomodate to her husband's interests and get on his routine as a way of making up to him for having adjusted to her schedule during the week , bringing about some sort of a balance .

All the participants have expressed a willingness to change their jobs or move to a different shift , most spouses seem to be unhappy or disapproving of their shift timings as it allows less time to be together . One participant believes that night shift schedule is an impediment to her personal life and worries about the schedule interfering in her marriage since she gets to see very little of her family and friends .

Inorder to stay connected to their partners two participants say that they communicate with their partners during the day over the phone , their partners text and call them during the

42

break or when they're relatively free . They are constantly in touch with their partners and share their days happenings over the phone .

Dealing with difficulties would require the couple to adjust and compromise , and that is just what they do say two participants . Getting used to the workers schedule and work patterns would require a lot of adjustment from the partners side , while the worker would have to adjust by giving equal attention to both her work and marriage . If certain problems seem unsurmountable , the participant and her partner compromise and let go of the problem as a way of coping with their difficulties .

Juggling with responsibilities at work and home might seem like a challenge to night shift workers . One of the main objectives of the study was to " identify strategies women night shift workers use to maintain work-home balance " .It seems like without partner support in helping with domestic responsibilities and dealing with work stress , the participants would face a lot ofwork - home conflict . According to Mills & Kadri , partner support plays a major role in night shift workers lives . Families in which night shift workers did recieve partner support expressed higher levels of satisfaction with their marital relationships and reduced the negative aspects of non standard night schedules on relationship

. All participants of this study have reported that they recieve partner support in handling domestic responsibilities . Their partners help by cooking meals , cleaning , washing clothes and doing the dishes . It was noted that in some families , the couple divided responsibilities and were accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities . Two families reported having no clear defined roles or responsibilities and performed tasks depending on their schedule . In respondent 9's words ,

One participant stated that it is impossible working in the night shift without the support of

43

your partner , seems like partner support plays a major role in maintaining work-home balance .

Two participants avoid bringing work home as a way of maintaining work - home balance . They prefer letting go of their work stress and worries when they leave for home and avoid completing their work tasks at home as far as possible . One participant has also stated that she avoids working beyond work hours and working from home on weekends .

Two participants follow a set routine that even their families are used to and comfortable with . The workers follow an organized approach to performing tasks and would know what to expect and would be better equipped to manage time and their actions become more automatic , eliminating a lot of time spent on thinking , planning and deciding . This helps the family also to ease into a routine eventually .On the contrary , one participant did express that her relationship has become more mechanical as a result of following a schedule . Two participants expressed that they faced difficulities with their schedule initially and have now managed to ease into a routine . In Respondent 3's words ,

Two participants feel that they are able to maintain a better work - home balance because they have hired help to fulfill all the domestic responsibilities . They are less stressed because all the odd jobs are taken care of . One participant also stated that she has hired help to take care of all the chores and doesn't have many domestic responsibilities . Even tasks like grocery shopping is taken care of because she gets all her groceries delivered home . Their work place have made arrangements for a department that allows them to pay their bills at work .

Three participants manage to get enough rest so they feel less stressed and are more capable at

44

handling chores , work tasks and attending to their family members . A participant said that she makes sure she gets enough rest before she begins to do her chores . In her words ,

"I make sure i sleep enough and only then do all the chores . I try and be fresh when my

husband returns from work so i can listen to him and talk " .

Few participants try to help with chores whenever possible and spend most of their time resting and recuperating from work stress . In these families , there's higher partner support as their partners have taken over most of the domestic responsibilities or they have hired help to take care of all the chores .

One of the main objectives of this study was to identify strategies women night shift workers use to make their marriage work . Research studies have reported that night shift work does create marital instability and impacts relationships . The issues that night shift employees typically face have been illustrated above of which less quality time with partner is one of the main concerns of all the participants . Weekends seem to be the only rescue for them to interact , spend quality time and socialize . 40% of the participants have applied for their weekly off's the same day as their husband's , so they get one full day exclusively with their spouse . It was observed that these participants found this arrangement convenient because it also allowed them to share quality time with their friends and family members on weekends . Four participants have made arrangements in their schedules that allow them time to spend with their husbands during weekdays . This arrangement also requires adjustment from the partner's side . These families insist on spending time with their spouse between schedules or before the night shift worker goes to work . Their husbands come home earlier from work so that the couple could spend some time before the participant heads off to work .

Two participants insist on eating atleast one meal together with their husbands before they begin their night shift schedule , they discuss work and their lives and indulge in quality

45

interaction . In respondent 4's words ,

The responses revealed that all the spouses provide support in the form of helping with domestic responsibilities and providing emotional support to the participants . All the participants agree they share responsibilites with their spouses based on some arrangement that clearly defines each other's roles and responsibilites , some couples have made no such arrangements and perform domestic tasks depending on their shift timings . In some instances , the partner has taken over most of the domestic responsibilites to make sure that the worker gets enough rest . Five participants reported getting emotional support from their spouses . They feel listened to by their problems and can openly discuss their feelings to their partners . Of the five participants who recieve emotional support , three participants revealed that they were in a relationship with their partners before marriage . It could be interpreted that the dating phase strenghtened their relationship , they probably grew to be understanding and supportive of each other and had the opportunity to put their relationship to test before stepping into wedlock , which now gives them the strength and the ability to manage their present situation considering that they would have gone through many lifestyle situations before marriage. One such participant stated that she has an understanding and a supportive partner , he rarely blames or complains . For most participants , their spouses provide them emotional support by discussing their work concerns and providing them with solutions to manage work stress better or by lending their ears to the participants problems and consoling them . One of the most frequent theme that emerged was "understanding partner" . All the participants affirmed that their participants were understanding of the nature of their job despite the fact that they weren't happy with the job schedule . One participant quoted her

46

husband is understanding even when negative emotions were expressed when she was stressed ,

One of the difficulities that the participants commonly faced was increased conflicts because of their schedule that allowed very less time for quality interactions . Of all the approaches to deal with conflicts , most participants prefer talking out their issues with their partners and come to an agreement . Three participants prefer to accept the situation , talk out their issues and move on from the argument instead of carrying it over to the next day . Few participants prefer to leave the fight to avoid prolongign the fight . They prefer to take time off to think and deal with the situation in a calm mind . One of the participants has gone for couple's counselling on one occasion since they couldn't cope with the situation and conflicts . Two participants stated that accepting the situation and conditions can reduce stress and allow better decision making and allows them to cope better . Few participants affirm that their conflicts aren't influenced by their work schedule since their partner has accepted the nature of their job . Further analysis showed that these participants were working in this schedule before marriage and h


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