Occupational Stress among Truck Drivers

Truck drivers, whose jobs impose high levels of psychological demands, have been experiencing significant work stress. Based on a recent multisite ethno-epidemiological study of trucker networks, truck drivers reported many stressors including constant time pressures, loneliness, fatigue and lack of sleep, disrespectful treatment from others, driving hazards (e.g. bad weather, traffic accidents , highway construction), and violence or fear of violence (e.g. getting mugged/robbed, being a victim of assault). Tight delivery schedules, interrupted sleep and anxiety also had a detrimental impact on their sleep. Some long-haul truck drivers even experienced difficulties sleeping in traditional settings after being accustomed to sleeping in their trucks. (1)

Additionally, being away from family, friends, and usual family traditions and routines makes truck drivers feel apart from the family unit. An interview on their family/friend relationships indicated that 23.7% of the truck drivers considered their relationships as either “not good”, “strained”, or “stressful”. (1)

Another cross-sectional study of 300 male truck drivers also reported that truck drivers were at increased risk for depression when compared to the general population. (2) Long-haul truck drivers are also highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and drug use. (3)

Further studies among train drivers and bus drivers need to be conducted in order to know whether this only happened among truck drivers or has already been a general problem throughout the transport industry.

References:

1, Mona Shattell et al. “Occupational Stressors and the mental health of truckers.”  Issues in Mental Health Nursing 2010(31): 561 – 568, DOI: 10.3109/016128.2010.488783

2, Francisco Pereira da Silva-Júnior et al. “Risk factors for depression in truck drivers.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2009(44): 125-128, DOI: 10.1007/s00127-008-0412-3

3, Donna Hubbard McCree et al. “Sexual and drug use behaviors of long-haul truck drivers and their commercial sex contacts in New Mexico.” Public Health Reports January – February 2010(125): 52-60

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