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Stress and health effects in paced and unpaced work.

Smith MJ; Hurrel JJ Jr.; Murphy RK Jr.
Machine Pacing and Occupational Stress, Proceedings of the International Conference, Purdue University, 1981 Mar; :261-267
A study of stress and health effects in paced and unpaced work in postal service employees was conducted. A questionnaire survey was conducted among multiple position letter sorting machine (MPLSM) operators, single position sorting machine operators, distribution clerks, electronic technicians, maintenance workers, and mechanics at 50 randomly selected postal worksites in the United States. The questionnaire sought information on job satisfaction, job stressors, physical strain, and health complaints. Only data for the MPLSM operators and distribution clerks were analyzed. The response rate was only 50 percent for the MPLSM operators and 49 percent for the distribution clerks. The MPLSM operators reported greater organizational satisfaction, greater cognitive demands, more task satisfaction, more work pressure, less coworker support, and less satisfaction with pay than the distribution clerks. Male MPLSM operators reported more pressure than female MPLSM operators, whereas male distribution clerks reported less pressure than female clerks. MPLSM operators reported higher levels of physical strain as measured by fatigue, vision disturbances, and muscular problems; females reported more strain than males. MPLSM operators reported a higher incidence of visual, muscular, digestive, and musculoskeletal problems than the distribution clerks, except for physician diagnosed high blood pressure. The authors conclude that machine paced work appears to have a number of potentially negative health outcomes in postal workers; however, because of the low response, the results might not be representative of the entire workforce.
Job-stress; Sex-factors; Health-survey; Occupational-health; Postal-employees; Physiological-response; Questionnaires; Physiological-stress; Repetitive-work
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Salvendy G; Smith MJ
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Machine Pacing and Occupational Stress, Proceedings of the International Conference, Purdue University, March 1981
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division