Philip Tucker

Philip Tucker


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Telephone 08-553 789 24
Visiting address Frescati Hagväg 16 A
Room 339
Postal address Stressforskningsinstitutet 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Philip is working as a guest researcher at the Stress Research Institute, having been seconded from his position as Senior Lecturer in the Psychology Department of Swansea University in the UK. His secondment is due to run from 2011 to 2014. Philips research considers the impact work hours have upon the health and safety of the employee. One of his main areas of study is the role of circadian rhythms in relation to the effects of shiftworking. He has published several papers looking at how various aspects of shift system design impact upon sleep, alertness on-shift and well-being. He also researches other non-circadian aspects of work scheduling, such as the timing and distribution of rest breaks, long work hours, innovative work schedules (i.e. time banks) and the impact of freetime activities on recovery from work. Philips research involves a range of methodological approaches, such large scale questionnaire surveys, epidemiological analysis of accident data, field studies of using both objective and subjective measures of sleep, stress and cognitive performance. Most recently, his research has focused on shiftwork in relation to a number of topics including aging; diet and the development of metabolic syndrome; and doctors' working time arrangements. While at Stress Reasearch Institute he will be working on a number of projects including the Swedish Longitudinal Survey of Occupational Health (SLOSH) and the Longitudinal Analysis of Nursing Education (LANE). The latter will be in collaboration with colleagues at the Karolinska Institute and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). Philip is also collaborating with colleagues in France, analysing data from the VISAT (Aging, health & work) study. Philip is a Consulting Editor of the journals Work & Stress and the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health. He has been twice commissioned by the International Labour Organization to write reviews on working time arrangements. He has also worked as a consultant advising on work scheduling issues for clients in the leisure industry, the food industry and the health sector.

Utbildning: PhD in Psychology, 1994


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. A. Dahlgren (et al.). Sleep Medicine 40 (Suppl. 1)

    Introduction: Shift work is related to short and disturbed sleep. Various aspects of a shift schedule will produce different opportunities and conditions for sleep depending on how they interact with circadian rhythms and the homeostatic drive for sleep. A third factor influencing sleep between shifts is the activation of the stress system. The aim of the current study was to examine sleep behaviours and strategies that nurses used when starting shift work and determine which sleep behaviours should be promoted when developing a programme for sleep interventions for newly graduated nurses.

    Material and methods: 11 (mean age 29.1±8) newly graduated nurses (3–12 months work experience) from different hospitals in Sweden were recruited for a semi-structured interview (approx. 45 min). Deductive content analysis was used to examine sleep strategies related to the homeostatic and circadian regulation of sleep, and to managing stress.

    Results: In relation to morning shifts (starting 6:45 h) most nurses perceived sleep as somewhat disturbed. Some had a strategy of undertaking activities that helped them unwind before bedtime, such as having a shower, watching TV, surfing the Internet or using relaxation techniques. One nurse had a strategy of getting up early in the morning before a morning shift in order to facilitate sleep in the evening, thereby enhancing the homeostatic drive for sleep. One nurse tried to keep her bed times constant despite irregular work hours in order to maintain a stable circadian rhythm.

    In relation to evening shifts, few experienced problems with sleep. Most had a lie-in before starting an evening shift and were being quite inactive before the shift started.

    Most nurses reported sleep problems when an evening shift was followed by a morning shift, i.e. a quick return, with many having problems unwinding and stopping thinking about work before bedtime. A few nurses described experiencing stress from knowing that their sleep would be short. Many had a strategy of undertaking other activities to unwind (see examples from morning shifts) before going to bed. A few went to bed straight away but described experiencing difficulties falling asleep. A few who reported no problems with sleep during quick returns said that they undertook activities that made them detach from work, with one regularly using a relaxation technique. The five nurses who worked night shifts had strategies of either sleeping in the evening before the nightshift, or staying up as long as possible the night before, thereby reducing the homeostatic drive for sleep during the shift.

    Conclusions: Newly graduated nurses would probably benefit from a sleep programme based on cognitive behavioural therapy techniques that are modified to fit shift workers. Behaviours and strategies that should be targeted are: routines and techniques for unwinding before bed time; sleep behaviours that promote building up enough homeostatic pressure for initiating sleep (e.g. not having long lie-ins before evening shifts that are followed by morning shifts); and sleep behaviours that promote a stable circadian rhythm.

  • 2017. Philip Tucker (et al.). Sleep Medicine 40 (Suppl. 1)

    Introduction: There is only limited evidence to date linking shiftwork with clinical levels of sleep disturbance and mental health problems. Few studies have examined redeemed drug prescriptions using register data, which is the focus of this study.

    Materials and methods: Data were obtained from three waves of the Finnish Public Sector Study (2000, 2004, 2008. 66-68% response rate). Participants were from two cohorts; local government employees in 10 towns–a mixture of healthcare workers and employees from other occupational sectors ('10 Towns Cohort'); and employees of 21 hospitals ('Hospitals Cohort'). The overall sample was N=53,275 (mean age 43.6 (SD=9.8), range 18-69), with approximately 73% coming from the 10 Towns Cohort. Women made up 82% of the entire sample. Responses to surveys were linked to records on redeemed prescriptions (until December 2011).

    Data from the two cohorts were analysed separately to examine the associations between work schedule and drug purchase. Cox regressions were used to predict time to first incident use of:

    1. Hypnotics & Sedatives; and

    2. Anxiolytics & Antidepressants. We separately compared 2- and 3-shift workers (i.e. rotating shifts either without, or with, nights) with dayworkers, matched for occupational group.

    Each analysis was stratified by age (< = 39 years, 40-49 years and >= 50 years). HRs were calculated with adjustments for age, sex, socioeconomic status and marital status (Model 1); and with additional adjustments for alcohol consumption (Model 2). Participants were excluded if they had any recorded purchase of the drug in question prior to follow-up, or if they reported previous diagnosis of depression or other mental disease.

    Results: There were fewer significant associations in the Hospitals Cohort than in the 10 Towns Cohort. The 10 Towns Cohort showed significant positive associations between 3-shift work and the use of both categories of medication; with the exception of Anxiolytic & Antidepressant use among the middle-age group. Among the 2-shift workers, the only significant associations were with the use of Anxiolytics & Antidepressants in the lower- and upper-age groups. In the Hospitals Cohort, the majority of associations were either non-significant or negative (i.e. indicative of a protective effect). The main exception was positive associations between 3-shift work and use of Hypnotics & Sedatives among the upper-age group.

    Conclusions: The finding of greater use of hypnotics and sedatives by rotating nightshift workers adds to the limited evidence to date linking night with clinical levels of sleep disturbance. The finding of greater use of anxiolytics and antidepressants by some groups of shiftworkers provides limited evidence of a link between shiftwork and mental health problems.

    Sensitivity analyses indicated that the disparity between cohorts was neither due to the presence of non-healthcare workers in the 10 Towns Cohort, nor to the presence of former shiftworkers in the control sample of the Hospital Cohort. Other possible explanations are that: the cohorts differ with respect to type of shift schedule e.g. the intensity of nightwork; shiftworkers in the Hospital Cohort may be more selected as it may be easier for them to transfer to daywork.

  • 2016. Sophie Albrecht (et al.). Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 44 (3), 320-328

    Aims: Past research has often neglected the sub-dimensions of work time control (WTC). Moreover, differences in levels of WTC with respect to work and demographic characteristics have not yet been examined in a representative sample. We investigated these matters in a recent sample of the Swedish working population. Methods: The study was based on the 2014 data collection of the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health. We assessed the structure of the WTC measure using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Differences in WTC by work and demographic characteristics were examined with independent sample t-tests, one-way ANOVAs and gender-stratified logistic regressions. Results: Best model fit was found for a two-factor structure that distinguished between control over daily hours and control over time off (root mean square error of approximation = 0.06; 95% CI 0.04 to 0.09; Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = 0.99). Women, shift and public-sector workers reported lower control in relation to both factors. Age showed small associations with WTC, while a stronger link was suggested for civil status and family situation. Night, roster and rotating shift work seemed to be the most influential factors on reporting low control over daily hours and time off. Conclusions: Our data confirm the two-dimensional structure underlying WTC, namely the components 'control over daily hours' and 'control over time off'. Women, public-sector and shift workers reported lower levels of control. Future research should examine the public health implications of WTC, in particular whether increased control over daily hours and time off can reduce health problems associated with difficult working-time arrangements.

Show all publications by Philip Tucker at Stockholm University

Last updated: January 18, 2019

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