Association of Visual Display Terminal Usage with Self-Rated Health and Psychological Distress among Japanese Office Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 6;18(17):9406. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18179406.


The aim of this study was to examine the association of the duration of visual display terminal (VDT) usage for work and non-work activities with self-rated health (SRH) and psychological distress among office workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. A cross-sectional data of 7088 office workers from a web-based, self-administered survey conducted from 25 August 2020, to 30 September 2020, was used. Multiple logistic regression analysis was applied. Compared to those who used a VDT for 4-9 h for work, office workers who used a VDT for ≥10 h for work had poor SRH (odds ratio (OR): 1.65; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13, 2.41) and severe psychological distress (OR: 2.23; 95% CI: 1.52, 3.28). VDT usage for less than 1 h (OR: 1.37, 95% CI: 1.12, 1.67) and 1-3 h (OR: 1.42, 95% CI: 1.12, 1.80) for work were also associated with severe psychological distress. Stratification analysis by age showed a significant association of VDT usage for work with poor SRH among 30-64-year-olds, while a U-shape association was found between VDT usage for work and psychological distress with the younger age group (15-29 years old). During the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan, the prolonged usage of VDT for work can deteriorate both general and psychological health, while moderate usage of VDT for work can reduce psychological distress.

Keywords: mental health; occupational health; physical health; screen time; workplace.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Computer Terminals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Psychological Distress*
  • SARS-CoV-2