Understanding the differing impacts of on-call work for males and females: Results from an online survey

Bernadette Roberts, Grace E. Vincent, Sally A. Ferguson, Amy C. Reynolds, Sarah M. Jay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


On-call work is prevalent worldwide and is associated with adverse outcomes, including disrupted sleep, impaired leisure time, and difficulties in mentally detaching from work. Limited studies specifically explored whether men and women experience on-call differently; therefore, our aim was to investigate whether sex differences exist in terms of both the impacts of and coping strategies to deal with on-call work. On-call workers (n = 228) participated in an online survey to investigate how on-call work impacts domestic, non-domestic, and leisure activities, and coping strategies. Pearson chi-squared analyses were used to determine sex differences for each construct of interest. Results indicated that female respondents were more likely to be responsible for running their household, and reported that being on call disturbed leisure, domestic, and non-domestic activities “a lot/very much”. While both males and females adopted engaged coping styles, a greater proportion of males used “problem solving” and a greater proportion of females “talked about their feelings” when managing on-call work. These findings provide valuable insight into how males and females are differentially impacted and cope with on-call work. Further research is required to better understand these impacts, particularly over time, and should include measures such as of quality of life, relationship satisfaction, and physical and mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number370
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping
  • Domestic
  • Female
  • Male
  • On-call
  • Stand-by
  • Work-life balance


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