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Psychophysiological stress reactions, trapezius muscle activity, and neck and shoulder pain among female cashiers before and after introduction of job rotation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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2002 (English)In: Work & Stress, ISSN 0267-8373, E-ISSN 1464-5335, Vol. 16, no 2, 127-137 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the introduction of a job rotation model on supermarket cashiers, with respect to psychophysiological stress reactions, muscle activity of the trapezius muscle (which covers the upper back, the neck and the shoulder), and musculoskeletal symptoms in the neck and shoulders. Thirty-one female cashiers were investigated before and after job rotation was introduced. Before the reorganization the participants were only performing cash register work at the checkout counters. After the reorganization they shifted between cash register work and work in different departments in the supermarket. At follow-up the participants, all right-handed, had a significantly lower diastolic blood pressure, and surface electromyography (EMG) showed a significantly decreased muscle activity in the trapezius muscle on the left side. Musculoskeletal symptoms of the neck and shoulders were only partly changed, and there was no change in prevalence of musculoskeletal pain, which was around 70%. From questionnaires, but not from self-ratings during work, it was found that the introduction of job rotation had been experienced as positive in several regards, although the perceptions of stress and hurry were the same at follow-up.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 16, no 2, 127-137 p.
Keyword [en]
Job Rotation, Psychophysiological stress, Electromyography, Musculoskeletal disorders, Cashier
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22870DOI: 10.1080/02678370210141530OAI: diva2:189657
Available from: 2006-09-15 Created: 2006-09-15 Last updated: 2014-02-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Repetitive and monotonous work among women: Psychophysiological and subjective stress reactions, muscle activity and neck and shoulder pain
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Repetitive and monotonous work among women: Psychophysiological and subjective stress reactions, muscle activity and neck and shoulder pain
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Repetitive and monotonous work is frequently associated with neck and shoulder pain and negative psychosocial factors inducing stress reactions. The present thesis concerns the relations between psychophysiological and subjective stress reactions, muscle activity measured by surface electromyography (SEMG) in the trapezius muscle, and neck and shoulder pain in women performing repetitive and monotonous work. In Study I cardiovascular and subjective stress reactions were investigated during computer work in a laboratory setting. The findings indicated that heart rate variability is a more sensitive and selective measure of mental stress compared with blood pressure recordings. Study II explored the relations between stress reactions and muscle activity during supermarket work. The results showed that perceived negative stress reactions may have a specific influence on muscle activity in the neck and shoulder region, which can be of importance for work-related musculoskeletal disorders in repetitive and monotonous work. In Study III the association between SEMG activity patterns and neck and shoulder pain was investigated during cash register work. It was found that pain-afflicted women had a different muscle activation pattern (more static, more co-contraction, less muscle rest) compared with pain-free women. Study IV was a follow-up study evaluating the introduction of job rotation among female cashiers. The results indicated positive effects on diastolic blood pressure, muscle activity, and partly on neck and shoulder pain, although perceived stress was unchanged. It was concluded that job rotation seems to have a limited effect on chronic neck and shoulder pain, but may be an effective preventive measure. The empirical findings are particularly relevant for women who, compared with men, more often perform repetitive and monotonous work and are also more often affected by neck and shoulder pain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Psykologiska institutionen, 2006
Repetitive and monotonous work, women, psychophysiological stress reactions, subjective stress reactions, muscle activity, trapezius muscle, neck and shoulder pain, job rotation
National Category
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1234 (URN)91-7155-295-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-10-06, David Magnussonsalen (U31), hus 8, Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2006-09-15 Created: 2006-09-15Bibliographically approved

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