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Soc Sci Med. 1989;29(6):733-42.

The impact of the physical environment on the psychological well-being of office workers.

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Environmental Epidemiology Unit, New York City Department of Health, NY 10013.


This paper examines the relationship between the physical office environment and the psychological well-being of office workers. The results indicate that adverse environmental conditions, especially poor air quality, noise, ergonomic conditions, and lack of privacy, may effect worker satisfaction and mental health. The data also provide substantial evidence that worker assessments of the physical environment are distinct from their assessments of general working conditions, such as work load, decision-making latitude and relationships with other people at work. Stated another way, people who reported problems with the physical environment could not simply be characterized as dissatisfied workers exhibiting a tendency to 'complain' about every aspect of their working conditions. Taken together, these findings lend support to the position that the stress people experience at work may be due to a combination of factors, including the physical conditions under which they labor. Both theoretical and practical considerations arise from these data, including the need for work site based health promotion and stress reduction programs to consider both the physical and psychological design of jobs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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