NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Differential patterns of exposure to physical and psychosocial stressors and musculoskeletal prevalence among men and women employed in assembly line production.

MacDonald LA; Punnett L
Proceedings of the 128th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, November 13-16, 2000, Boston, Massachusetts. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2000 Nov; :229-230
Differential patterns of exposure and health were examined among men and women employed in assembly production. A questionnaire was administered to 220 workers (81% participation rate) inquiring about demographics, exposure to physical and psychosocial stressors, psychological distress and musculoskeletal symptoms. Half (50%) of the participants were female. The results showed that women were more often employed in assembly operations, whereas men worked more in production support functions such as in-line repair and utility worker. Correspondingly, women were employed in lower wage jobs, they performed more short-cycle tasks and their decision latitude (job control) was lower. Men exposed to high physical demands had higher exertional demands, such as forceful pushing/pulling and impact force. Overall musculoskeletal symptom prevalence ranged from a low of 8% for the elbow, 23% for the hand/wrist, 25% for the neck/shoulder, and 46% for any upper extremity (UE) site. Women had a higher prevalence for the neck/shoulder (53% vs 16%) and for any UE site (58% versus 37%); this disparity existed even among those workers exposed to dual loads (high physical load and high job strain). These findings highlight the need for epidemiologic analyses to include more gender-specific results, permitting examinations of differences in the nature and frequency of occupational exposures and important covariates. Larger studies are needed to further examine these differences and the effect of dual exposures on the risk for musculoskeletal disorders.
Humans; Men; Women; Demographic characteristics; Psychological stress; Physical stress; Ergonomics; Sex factors; Musculoskeletal system disorders; Extremities; Author Keywords: Gender; Ergonomics
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proceedings of the 128th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, November 13-16, 2000, Boston, Massachusetts
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division