Introduction: Shift workers are known to have a higher suicide risk than non-shift workers. Sleep disturbance and impulsivity are also risk factors for suicidality. This study investigated the effects of poor sleep and impulsivity on suicidality in shift and non-shift workers.
Methods: In total, 4572 shift workers (37.0 ± 9.84 years, 2150 males) and 2093 non-shift workers (37.8 ± 9.73 years, 999 males) participated in an online self-report survey. Suicidality was assessed using the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was employed to explore subjective sleep quality, the Insomnia Severity Index to detect insomnia, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) to evaluate excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) Scale to assess depressive symptoms, and the Impulsive Behavior Scale (UPPS-P) to explore impulsivity.
Results: Shift workers showed poorer sleep quality, and greater impulsivity and suicidality, than non-shift workers. Impulsivity, sleep duration, sleep quality, and insomnia were significantly associated with suicidality, independent of depression. For both shift and non-shift workers, sleep quality moderated the association between impulsivity and suicidality. However, the moderating effects of sleep duration and EDS on the association between impulsivity and suicidality were apparent only in non-shift workers, while a moderating effect of insomnia was observed only in shift workers.
Conclusion: Shift work, sleep disturbances and impulsivity may exacerbate suicide risk. In addition, the interrelationships among insomnia, EDS, impulsivity, and suicidality may differ between shift and non-shift workers.