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Psychosocial factors contributing to job stress of clerical VDT operators.

Cohen BG; Smith MJ; Stammerjohn LW Jr.
Machine Pacing and Occupational Stress, Proceedings of the International Conference, Purdue University, 1981 Mar; :337-345
A survey of psychosocial factors contributing to job stress in video display terminal (VDT) operators was conducted. The cohort consisted of 134 professional VDT users and 102 clerical VDT operators at four newspapers and one insurance company. The comparisons consisted of 150 clerical workers not using VDTs. The subjects completed a questionnaire designed to collect information about job demands, job stressors, job stress level, mood, health complaints, and working conditions. Significantly more clerical VDT users reported job stress and health problems than professional VDT operators or the comparisons. Both groups of VDT operators reported more career problems than the comparisons. All respondents reported elevated levels of stress. Clerical VDT operators showed the highest levels of stress, followed by the comparisons and professional VDT users in that order. Clerical VDT operators reported significantly less peer cohesion and job autonomy and more work pressure and supervisory control than professional VDT users and the comparisons. Specific job stressors for which the clerical VDT operators reported more problems than the professional VDT users or comparisons included workload, work pace, boredom, and lack of career development. The authors conclude that all workers surveyed in this study show higher levels of psychological stress than other similar occupational groups. This may be the result of strained management labor relations. The highest degree of job stress was reported by clerical workers using VDTs. Since professional VDT users reported the least amount of stress, VDT use is not the only stressor. Job content must also contribute to stress. Clerical VDT users can be regarded as being similar to assembly line workers in that both groups have no control over work content.
Job-stress; Office-workers; Video-display-terminals; Psychological-stress; Epidemiology; Mental-health; Occupational-health; Workplace-studies
Publication Date
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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