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Med Lav. 2009 Jan-Feb;100(1):29-34.

[Musculoskeletal disorders among university student computer users].

[Article in Italian]

Author information

1
Sezione di Medicina del Lavoro, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Medicina Pubblica, Università degli Studi di Bari.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Musculoskeletal disorders are a common problem among computer users. Many epidemiological studies have shown that ergonomic factors and aspects of work organization play an important role in the development of these disorders.

OBJECTIVES:

We carried out a cross-sectional survey to estimate the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among university students using personal computers and to investigate the features of occupational exposure and the prevalence of symptoms throughout the study course. Another objective was to assess the students' level of knowledge of computer ergonomics and the relevant health risks.

METHODS:

A questionnaire was distributed to 183 students attending the lectures for second and fourth year courses of the Faculty of Architecture. Data concerning personal characteristics, ergonomic and organizational aspects of computer use, and the presence of musculoskeletal symptoms in the neck and upper limbs were collected.

RESULTS:

Exposure to risk factors such as daily duration of computer use, time spent at the computer without breaks, duration of mouse use and poor workstation ergonomics was significantly higher among students of the fourth year course. Neck pain was the most commonly reported symptom (69%), followed by hand/wrist (53%), shoulder (49%) and arm (8%) pain. The prevalence of symptoms in the neck and hand/wrist area was signifcantly higher in the students of the fourth year course.

DISCUSSION:

In our survey we found high prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among university students using computers for long time periods on a daily basis. Exposure to computer-related ergonomic and organizational risk factors, and the prevalence ofmusculoskeletal symptoms both seem to increase significantly throughout the study course. Furthermore, we found that the level of perception of computer-related health risks among the students was low. Our findings suggest the need for preventive intervention consisting of education in computer ergonomics.

PMID:
19263870
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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