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University students' notebook computer use: lessons learned using e-diaries to report musculoskeletal discomfort.

Authors
Jacobs-K; Foley-G; Punnett-L; Hall-V; Gore-R; Brownson-E; Ansong-E; Markowitz-J; McKinnon-M; Steinberg-S; Ing-A; Wuest-E; Dibiccari-L
Source
Ergonomics 2011 Feb; 54(2):206-219
NIOSHTIC No.
20038880
Abstract
The objective of this pilot study was to identify if notebook accessories (ergonomic chair, desktop monitor and notebook riser) combined with a wireless keyboard, mouse and participatory ergonomics training would have the greatest impact on reducing self-reported upper extremity musculoskeletal discomfort in university students. In addition to pre-post computing and health surveys, the Ecological Momentary Assessment was used to capture change in discomfort over time using a personal digital assistant (PDA) as the e-diary. The PDA was programmed with a survey containing 45 questions. Four groups of university students were randomised to either intervention (three external computer accessories) or to control. Participants reported less discomfort with the ergonomic chair and notebook riser based on the pre-post survey data and the e-diary/PDA ANOVA analysis. However, the PDA data, adjusted for the effect of hours per day of computer use, showed no benefit of the chair and limited benefit from the riser. Statement of Relevance: University students' use of notebook computers has increased. This study found evidence of a positive effect of an adjustable chair or notebook riser when combined with ergonomic training on reducing discomfort. Daily notebook computer use of 4 hr was confirmed as a risk factor. Without some form of ergonomic intervention, these students are likely to enter the workforce with poor computing habits, which places them on the road to future injuries as technology continues to play a dominant role in their lives.
Keywords
Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Computers; Computer-equipment; Computer-software; Recording-systems; Education; Electronic-devices; Training; Extremities; Cumulative-trauma; Health-surveys; Ecological-systems; Information-retrieval-systems; Data-processing; Risk-factors; Injury-prevention; Equipment-design; Office-furniture; Human-factors-engineering; Author Keywords: human-computer interaction; musculoskeletal; office ergonomics; participative ergonomics
Contact
K. Jacobs, Boston University Sargent College, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston, MA, 02118, USA
CODEN
ERGOAX
Publication Date
20110201
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
kjacobs@bu.edu
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2011
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T42-OH-008416
Issue of Publication
2
ISSN
0014-0139
Source Name
Ergonomics
State
MA
Performing Organization
Harvard School of Public Health
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