College students and computers: assessment of usage patterns and musculoskeletal discomfort.
Noack-Cooper-KL; Sommerich-CM; Mirka-GA
Work 2009 Mar; 32(3):285-298
A limited number of studies have focused on computer-use-related MSDs in college students, though risk factor exposure may be similar to that of workers who use computers. This study examined computer use patterns of college students, and made comparisons to a group of previously studied computer-using professionals. 234 students completed a web-based questionnaire concerning computer use habits and physical discomfort respondents specifically associated with computer use. As a group, students reported their computer use to be at least 'Somewhat likely' 18 out of 24 h/day, compared to 12 h for the professionals. Students reported more uninterrupted work behaviours than the professionals. Younger graduate students reported 33.7 average weekly computing hours, similar to hours reported by younger professionals. Students generally reported more frequent upper extremity discomfort than the professionals. Frequent assumption of awkward postures was associated with frequent discomfort. The findings signal a need for intervention, including, training and education, prior to entry into the workforce. Students are future workers, and so it is important to determine whether their increasing exposure to computers, prior to entering the workforce, may make it so they enter already injured or do not enter their chosen profession due to upper extremity MSDs.
Biological-factors; Biological-systems; Computer-equipment; Computers; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Ergonomics; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Humans; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Muscular-disorders; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Posture; Questionnaires; Repetitive-work; Risk-factors; Work-areas; Work-operations;
Author Keywords: Computer; VDT; college students; musculoskeletal discomfort
Carolyn M. Sommerich, PhD, Department of Industrial, Welding and Systems Engineering The Ohio State University, 210 Baker Systems, 1971 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina