First Advisor

Robert R. Sinclair

Term of Graduation

Summer 2007

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science: Psychology


Systems Science




Hours of labor, Long-term care facilities, Shift systems



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 223 pages)


The long-term care (LTC) industry provides medical and social services in facility-based settings to the elderly, chronically ill, and disabled. With the aging of the United States population, the need for LTC workers is expected to drastically increase in the next decade. However, the industry faces a significant staffing shortage. One potential cause of staffing problems in LTC is working non-standard work schedules. Because of the need to provide around the clock care, LTC employees often work non-standard shifts, long hours, night work, and over weekends and holidays. Although many studies have examined health and sleep-related outcomes associated with non-standard work schedules, few studies have examined their effects on job attitudes and retention-related outcomes.

To address these needs, the present study examines the effects of non-standard work schedules on three outcomes; emotional exhaustion, engagement, and intentions to leave. I tested several hypotheses concerning individual characteristics and work environment variables expected to moderate these relationships. The individual characteristics included circadian orientation (i.e., morningness) and non-work schedule fit. The work environment influences included four aspects of organizational justice applied to work schedules, or work schedule justice. Both the main effects and interactions between the four justice facets were examined.

Participants for this study were 389 LTC workers from a single organization working in 21 different facilities. Participants filled out a paper and pencil survey asking them about their circadian preferences, non-work schedule fit, work schedule justice perceptions, amount of night work, emotional exhaustion, engagement, and intentions to leave the organization, job, and work schedule.

Results of this study were mixed. Few of the individual difference x night work interactions were significant. However, there were several interesting findings related to work schedule justice, including differential relationships for the justice facets of each schedule outcome and interactions among the justice facets in predicting some outcomes. Results of this research provide valuable information to health care organizations regarding improving employee engagement and designing work schedules that may result in less emotional exhaustion and lower turnover.


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