Association between shift work and severity of depressive symptoms among female nurses: The Korea Nurses' Health Study

Hea Young Lee, Mi Sun Kim, Oksoo Kim, Il Hyun Lee, Han Kyoul Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Aim: To determine the prevalence of depression and the relationship between shift work and depression severity among female nurses in South Korea. Background: Shift work has been associated with higher risks of depressive symptoms, but there is a dearth of research on nurses, particularly investigating the severity of depressive symptoms. Methods: Quantitative data including survey response from 9789 participants were analysed. Statistical analysis included descriptive, Spearman's correlation and multivariable ordinal logistic regression. Results: The numbers of nurses according to the severity of depressive symptoms were 35.2% (n = 3445), 38.0% (n = 3716), 16.1% (n = 1578), 7.6% (n = 747) and 3.1% (n = 303) for normal, mild, moderate, severely moderate and severe level of depressive symptoms, respectively. After adjusting for sociodemographic and health behavioural factors, nurses who worked shifts had 1.519-times greater odds of experiencing a higher severity of depressive symptoms (OR = 1.519, CI = 1.380-1.674, P < 0.001). Conclusion: This study shows a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms among nurses who worked shifts and suggests that shift work may increase the severity of depressive symptoms among female nurses in South Korea. Implications for nursing management: Nursing professionals, managers and health policy makers need to understand the factors influencing depressive symptoms and to use appropriate interventions based on the severity and not just the onset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded (2013E6300600) by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) of the Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Depressive symptoms
  • Korea Nurses' Health Study
  • Nurse
  • Shift work


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