Cognitive-energetical theories of information processing were used to generate predictions regarding the relationship between workload and fatigue within and across consecutive days of work. Repeated measures were taken on board a naval vessel during a non-routine and a routine patrol. Data were analyzed using growth curve modeling. Fatigue demonstrated a non-monotonic relationship within days in both patrols – fatigue was high at midnight, started decreasing until noontime and then increased again. Fatigue increased across days towards the end of the non-routine patrol, but remained stable across days in the routine patrol. The relationship between workload and fatigue changed over consecutive days in the non-routine patrol. At the beginning of the patrol, low workload was associated with fatigue. At the end of the patrol, high workload was associated with fatigue. This relationship could not be tested in the routine patrol, however it demonstrated a non-monotonic relationship between workload and fatigue – low and high workloads were associated with the highest fatigue. These results suggest that the optimal level of workload can change over time and thus have implications for the management of fatigue
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