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Test-retest reliability and concurrent validity of a web-based questionnaire measuring workstation and individual correlates of work postures during computer work

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Author: IJmker, S. · Mikkers, J. · Blatter, B.M. · Beek, A.J. van der · Mechelen, W. van · Bongers, P.M.
Type:article
Date:2008
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:Applied Ergonomics, 6, 39, 685-696
Identifier: 241088
doi: doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2007.12.003
Keywords: Workplace · Veilig en Gezond Werken · Reliability · Validity · Work postures · Classification (of information) · Computer networks · Computer workstations · Computers · Food products · Goniometers · Human engineering · Industrial engineering · Information technology · Measurements · Neuromuscular rehabilitation · Office buildings · Population statistics · Risk assessment · Risk perception · Surveys · Testing · (p ,p ,t) measurements · Elsevier (CO) · Field studies · In between · Individual (PSS 544-7) · individual characteristics · Misclassification (MC) · Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) · Office workers · risk categories · Site observations · Test-retest reliability · Visual guidance · Web-based questionnaire · Work postures · working postures · Occupational risks · Internet questionnaire · Computers · Equipment Design · Human Engineering · Humans · Interior Design and Furnishings · Internet · Musculoskeletal Diseases · Occupational Health · Posture · Questionnaires · Reproducibility of Results · Workplace · Healthy for Life · Healthy Living

Abstract

Introduction: "Ergonomic" questionnaires are widely used in epidemiological field studies to study the association between workstation characteristics, work posture and musculoskeletal disorders among office workers. Findings have been inconsistent regarding the putative adverse effect of work postures. Underestimation of the true association might be present in studies due to misclassification of subjects to risk (i.e. exposed to non-neutral working postures) and no-risk categories (i.e. not exposed to non-neutral working postures) based on questionnaire responses. The objective of this study was to estimate the amount of misclassification resulting from the use of questionnaires. Methods: Test-retest reliability and concurrent validity of a newly developed questionnaire was assessed. This questionnaire collects data on workstation characteristics and on individual characteristics during computer work (i.e. work postures, movements and habits). Pictures were added where possible to provide visual guidance. The study population consisted of 84 office workers of a research department. They filled out the questionnaire on the Internet twice, with an in-between period of 2 weeks. For a subgroup of workers (n=38), additional on-site observations and multiple manual goniometer measurements were performed. Results: Percentage agreement ranged between 71% and 100% for the test-retest analysis, between 31% and 100% for the comparison between questionnaire and on-site observation, and between 26% and 71% for the comparison between questionnaire and manual goniometer measurements. For 9 out of 12 tested items, the percentage agreement between questionnaire and manual goniometer measurements was below 50%. Conclusions: The questionnaire collects reliable data on workstation characteristics and some individual characteristics during computer work (i.e. work movements and habits), but does not seem to be useful to collect data on work postures during computer work in epidemiological field studies among office workers. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.