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J Occup Health year 2006 volume 48 number 3 page 192 - 197
Classification Original
Title Work Characteristics and Upper Extremity Disorders in Female Dental Health Workers
Author Petra LINDFORS, Ulrica von THIELE and Ulf LUNDBERG
Organization Department of Psychology and Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden
Keywords Upper extremity disorders, Dentistry, Work environment, Women
Correspondence P. Lindfors, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
(e-mail: pls@psychology.su.se)
Abstract Work Characteristics and Upper Extremity Disorders in Female Dental Health Workers: Petra LINDFORS, et al. Department of Psychology and Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden-Many dental health workers suffer from musculoskeletal disorders in the upper extremities. In addition to ergonomic factors, psychosocial work characteristics have been linked to musculoskeletal disorders. The present cross-sectional study aimed at investigating how musculoskeletal disorders in the upper extremities (UED) and occupational position are related to work characteristics and general health problems in female dental health workers. Questionnaire data from dentists, dental hygienists and dental nurses (N=945) showed that 81% reported UED. Multivariate analysis of variance showed that dentists reported the highest levels of physical load and fatigue whereas dental nurses reported the lowest levels of influence at work. Irrespective of position, those with UED considered their physical and psychosocial work environment and their own health to be significantly poorer than did those without UED. A hierarchical multiple regression showed that the physical load of dentistry was most strongly related to UED. Despite improvements to the ergonomics and physical work environment of dentistry, it is concluded that female dental health workers are still at high risk of developing UED.