Shift Work and Mental Health Among Radiologic Technologists

Marilyn Sackett, Kevin R. Clark, Tammy L. Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose To determine the relationships between mental health (depression and anxiety) and engaging in shift work, working weekend shifts, and taking call for radiologic technologists, and to identify coping strategies used to manage depression and anxiety. Methods Validated instruments were used to measure depression and anxiety levels among a sample of radiologic technologists who were members of Advanced Health Education Center. The participants also identified their primary work shift and their frequency of working weekends and taking call. Results There were 173 completed survey responses for this study. Most radiologic technologists in this study experienced mild symptoms of depression (62, 35.8%) and anxiety (57, 32.9%). Nearly half of the participants indicated that their depression and anxiety made it difficult for them to perform their jobs effectively, and about one-third of the participants believed those symptoms were intensified by shift work. A strong, positive relationship was identified between participants’ total depression and anxiety scores (P,.001). There were no significant differences between shift work and total depression score (P =.06) or total anxiety score (P 5.28). A significant association was found between the frequency of working weekend shifts and depression levels (P,.001) with a moderate effect size. Most of the participants identified support from family or friends, prayer and spiritual activities, and prescribed medication as common coping strategies. Discussion Findings revealed that the radiologic technologists in this study did not rely heavily on employer-based resources, such as employee assistance programs, to cope with their depression and anxiety symptoms. One speculation for underuse of these employer-based resources might be fear of being stigmatized by management or personal perceived stigma against asking for help. There is an opportunity for increased awareness of available mental health resources and acceptance of mental health management to erase the common, negative stigma associated with seeking out professional resources. Conclusion Radiologic technologists in this study experienced depression and anxiety symptoms that affected their work performance and correlated with working weekend shifts; however, there was no significant relationship between shift work and depression or anxiety in this sample of radiologic technologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-179
Number of pages12
JournalRadiologic technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • anxiety
  • coping strategies
  • depression
  • mental health
  • shift work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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