Work, family life and recovery: An exploratory study of 'the third shift'

Ulf Ericsson, Pär Pettersson, Leif W. Rydstedt, Elin Ekelund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using 24-hour narratives as a starting-point, the present study examines conditions for recovery from work. The third shift concept forms the explorative starting point for highlighting the interplay between work, family responsibilities, leisure time and recovery. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study is to explore how the third shift affects possibilities for recovery. METHOD: The material was gathered by group interviews and diaries. Thirty employees participated in the study. Ten participants where women between 30 and 45 years of age with children living at home. RESULTS: Being solely responsible for the third shift reduced the chances of recovery during work-free time. The material showed that women aged 30-45 years had to a greater extent than others the main responsibility in a complex third shift. CONCLUSION: As a precondition for external recovery, this study show how theoretically beneficial the breakdown of the second shift and development of the third shift is for understanding different preconditions and the way they affect the possibility of recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1140
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021-Dec-20

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Occupational Health and Environmental Health (30303)


  • Equality
  • fatigue
  • stress
  • women's health
  • work-life balance


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