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Psychosocial aspects of working with video display terminals (VDTs) and employee physical and mental health.
Ergonomics 1997 Oct; 40(10):1002-1015
The psychosocial impact of video display terminal (VDT) work on employee physical and mental health was discussed. Several studies were cited which indicated that VDT use was related to psychosocial job stress, which in turn had an adverse effect on employee physical and mental health parameters, such as upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms. Such psychosocial factors included increased psychosomatic complaints, increased work pressure, poor job satisfaction, and a reduction in perceived job stability. In a comprehensive job design model of VDT use and psychosocial stress, the worker was influenced not only by his or her own personal characteristics, such as age, gender, and health status, but also by the physical and social work environment, the workplace technology, the job tasks, and the workplace organizational structure. The psychosocial characteristics of VDT work were improved by modifying the work environment, technology, task, and organization factors which influenced the VDT user. Clear, consistent organizational support was considered to be the foundation for further improvements in job design. Employee participation in decisions regarding new technology was crucial to the success of the implementation and the physical and mental health of the worker. The psychosocial effects of VDT work were also improved through modifications in job content, such as increased task complexity, enhanced employee skill use, and opportunities for career growth. Job control, work load, level of socialization, and work station ergonomics all exerted psychosocial influences on the VDT user. Both system balance, which focused on the technological, personal, and psychosocial aspects of the job, and compensatory balance, which aimed to reduce psychological stress wherever feasible, were needed in the design of VDT work. The author concludes that the adverse psychosocial aspects of VDT work can be improved through modifications in the work environment, organizational structure, technology, and tasks.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Psychological-effects; Humans; Job-stress; Video-display-terminals; Psychological-stress; Occupational-psychology; Occupational-sociology; Sociological-factors; Work-environment; Office-workers; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders
Issue of Publication
University of Wisconsin
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division