Job stress management and ergonomic intervention for work-related upper extremity symptoms

Appl Ergon. 2004 Nov;35(6):565-74. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2004.05.003.


In practice the secondary prevention of work-related upper extremity (WRUE) symptoms generally targets biomechanical risk factors. Psychosocial risk factors have also been shown to play an important role in the development of WRUE symptom severity and future disability. The addition of a stress management component to biomechanically focused interventions may result in greater improvements in WRUE symptoms and functional limitations than intervening in the biomechanical risk factors alone. Seventy office workers with WRUE symptoms were randomly assigned to an ergonomics intervention group (assessment and modification of work station and stretching exercises) or a combined ergonomic and job stress intervention group (ergonomic intervention plus two 1-h workshops on the identification and management of workplace stress). Baseline, 3- and 12-month follow-up measures of observed ergonomic risks and self-reported ergonomic risks, job stress, pain, symptoms, functional limitation, and general physical and mental health were obtained from all participants. While both groups experienced significant decreases in pain, symptoms, and functional limitation from baseline to three months with improvements continuing to 12 months post baseline, no significant differences between groups were observed for any outcome measures. Findings indicate that the additional two-session job stress management component did not significantly enhance the short- or long-term improvements brought about by the ergonomic intervention alone.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / therapy*
  • Occupational Health
  • Pain Measurement
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Upper Extremity