Relations between work and upper extremity musculoskeletal problems (UEMSP) and the moderating role of psychosocial work factors on the relation between computer work and UEMSP
Computer work has been identified as a risk factor for upper extremity musculoskeletal problems (UEMSP). But few studies have investigated how psychosocial and organizational work factors affect this relation. Nor have gender differences in the relation between UEMSP and these work factors been studied. We sought to estimate: (1) the association between UEMSP and a range of physical, psychosocial and organizational work exposures, including the duration of computer work, and (2) the moderating effect of psychosocial work exposures on the relation between computer work and UEMSP.
Using 2007–2008 Québec survey data on 2478 workers, we carried out gender-stratified multivariable logistic regression modeling and two-way interaction analyses.
In both genders, odds of UEMSP were higher with exposure to high physical work demands and emotionally demanding work. Additionally among women, UEMSP were associated with duration of occupational computer exposure, sexual harassment, tense situations when dealing with clients, high quantitative demands and lack of prospects for promotion, and among men, with low coworker support, episodes of unemployment, low job security and contradictory work demands. Among women, the effect of computer work on UEMSP was considerably increased in the presence of emotionally demanding work, and may also be moderated by low recognition at work, contradictory work demands, and low supervisor support.
These results suggest that the relations between UEMSP and computer work are moderated by psychosocial work exposures and that the relations between working conditions and UEMSP are somewhat different for each gender, highlighting the complexity of these relations and the importance of considering gender.
KeywordsWork-related upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders Computer work Psychosocial work demands Moderating effects
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