Sleep disorders, depression and anxiety are associated with adverse safety outcomes in healthcare workers: A prospective cohort study

Matthew D. Weaver, Céline Vetter, Shantha M.W. Rajaratnam, Conor S. O’Brien, Salim Qadri, Ruth M. Benca, Ann E. Rogers, Eileen B. Leary, James K. Walsh, Charles A. Czeisler, Laura K. Barger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of the study was to determine if sleep disorder, depression or anxiety screening status was associated with safety outcomes in a diverse population of hospital workers. A sample of shift workers at four hospitals participated in a prospective cohort study. Participants were screened for five sleep disorders, depression and anxiety at baseline, then completed prospective monthly surveys for the next 6 months to capture motor vehicle crashes, near-miss crashes, occupational exposures and medical errors. We tested the associations between sleep disorders, depression and anxiety and adverse safety outcomes using incidence rate ratios adjusted for potentially confounding factors in a multivariable negative binomial regression model. Of the 416 hospital workers who participated, two in five (40.9%) screened positive for a sleep disorder and 21.6% screened positive for depression or anxiety. After multivariable adjustment, screening positive for a sleep disorder was associated with 83% increased incidence of adverse safety outcomes. Screening positive for depression or anxiety increased the risk by 63%. Sleep disorders and mood disorders were independently associated with adverse outcomes and contributed additively to risk. Our findings suggest that screening for sleep disorders and mental health screening can help identify individuals who are vulnerable to adverse safety outcomes. Future research should evaluate sleep and mental health screening, evaluation and treatment programmes that may improve safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12722
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • mental health
  • occupational safety
  • sleep–wake disorders

Cite this