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In recent years, there has been increasing interest in emotional labour because of the shift of the economy from the manufacturing to the service sector. This work involves a great deal of so-called ‘emotional labour’. Sleep disturbance represents an enormous impact on the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole. This study aimed to investigate the effect of facing complaining customer and suppressed emotion at worksite on sleep disturbance among working population.We assumed that (1) engaging complaining customers and (2) suppressing emotions at a worksite would be crucial factors in potential excessive emotional demand in service workers. This study set out to assess the association between sleep disturbance and emotional demands, including the influence of 1) and 2) above in a population-based study from a nationally representative sample of Korean workers, the Korean Working Condition Survey (KWCS) which has comprehensive questionnaires regarding the occupational information for almost fifty thousand workers in Korea. Statistical analysis was performed using the SAS 9.2 software (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.).Among workers in working environments where they always engage complaining customers had a significantly higher risk for sleep disturbance than rarely group (The OR [95% CI]; 5.46 [3.43–8.68] in male, 5.59 [3.30–9.46] in female workers). The OR (95% CI) for sleep disturbance was 1.78 (1.16–2.73) and 1.63 (1.02–2.63), for the male and female groups always suppressing their emotions at the workplace compared with those rarely group. Compared to those who both rarely engaged complaining customers and rarely suppressed their emotions at work, the OR (CI) for sleep disturbance was 9.66 (4.34–20.80) and 10.17 (4.46–22.07), for men and women always exposed to both factors.The level of emotional demand, including engaging complaining customers and suppressing emotions at the workplace is significantly associated with sleep disturbance among Korean working population.