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Appl Ergon. 1994 Oct;25(5):299-304.

The effects of ergonomically designed school furniture on pupils' attitudes, symptoms and behaviour.

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Orebro Medical Centre, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, S-701 85 Obro, Sweden.


We tested the effects of implementing ergonomically designed school furniture on measures of comfort, sitting posture and symptoms. Three classes of fourth graders (10 years old) were randomly assigned either to a control group using traditional furniture or to an experimental group which received the ergonomically designed furniture. In both groups questionnaires were completed and sitting behaviour was observed twice before and after the intervention as well as at a five-month follow-up period. Although the experimental groups rated their furniture as being significantly more comfortable, differences in actual sitting behaviour were small. The experimental class experienced a reduction in musculoskeletal symptoms relative to the control group after implementing the ergonomically designed furniture. Since pupils did not automatically sit 'properly' in the ergonomic furniture, these results demonstrate the need for proper instructions and adjustment. Increased comfort and decreased symptoms may be used to motivate pupils to sit correctly. Our results suggest that furniture design is one aspect of a multidimensional problem.


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