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Duration of computer use and mouse use in relation to musculoskeletal disorders of neck or upper limb

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Author: Blatter, B.M. · Bongers, P.M.
Source:International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 4-5, 30, 295-306
Identifier: 236715
doi: doi:10.1016/S0169-8141(02)00132-4
Keywords: Workplace · CTD · Office workers · Risk factors · RSI · Upper extremity · VDU · Computers · Job analysis · Mice (computer peripherals) · Musculoskeletal system · Personnel · Computer users · Ergonomics · Adult · Arm · Arm disease · Body regions · Controlled study · Device · Elbow · Female · Human · Human computer interaction · Major clinical study · Male · Musculoskeletal disease · Neck injury · Occupational disease · Physical activity · Questionnaire · Shoulder · Social psychology · Statistical significance · Work environment · Working time · Workload · Wrist · Beeldschermen · Terminals · Kantoorarbeid · Kantoorwerkzaamheden · Bewegingsstoornissen · Handen · Armen · Arbeidsbelasting · Arbeidskrachten


The objectives of this study were to examine the association between work-related upper limb disorders (WRULDs) and duration of computer and mouse use, to investigate differences in these associations between men and women, and to examine whether a possible relationship between duration of computer use and WRULDs was explained by physical or psychosocial risk factors. The study population in this cross-sectional questionnaire study consisted of 5400 office employees. Participants had filled out a questionnaire on job characteristics, job content, physical workload, psychosocial workload and musculoskeletal symptoms. Working with a computer during more than 6h/day was associated with WRULDs in all body regions. Stratified analyses showed that the strength of the associations differed between men and women. In men, only moderate associations were seen for computer use more than 6h/day. In women, moderately increased ORs were observed for a duration of computer use of more than 4h/day and strongly increased risks for a computer use during more than 6h/day. Frequent computer users who often used a mouse did not report more WRULDs or neck or shoulder disorders than frequent computer users who did not use a mouse. Only for arm, elbow or wrist or hand problems a moderately increased OR among the mouse users was observed, but this was not statistically significant. Relevance to industry: Recent increases in the number of employees working with computers and in the durations of computer and mouse use coincide with a huge prevalence increase of work-related disorders of neck and upper limb (WRULDs) and sick leave, which poses financial burdens on companies. Research on risk factors and preventive measures is relevant for these companies. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.