Musculoskeletal symptoms related to video display terminal use: an analysis of objective and subjective exposure estimates

AAOHN J. 1996 Jan;44(1):33-9.


The occupational use of video display terminals (VDTs) has been associated with the increasing incidence of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders, often called cumulative trauma disorders. To guide clinical and policy decisions about the prevention and treatment of these VDT related disorders, valid and economic measures of total daily VDT use and VDT related job tasks such as data entry or editing will be important. In this study of newspaper reporters and copy editors (n = 83), VDT use was measured with employee self reports and by sampling the work behaviors of a subsample of employees. Behavioral sampling estimated VDT use as a characteristic of the job as opposed to a characteristic of individual employee performance. Overall, the two techniques of measuring occupational VDT use compared favorably, with the exception that self reported hours of VDT use tended to exceed the hours of use estimated by behavioral observation for employees who were younger and those who reported greater job demands. The findings suggest that behavioral sampling is a valid technique for estimating VDT use as a job characteristic.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Terminals*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Publishing
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Task Performance and Analysis*