4060.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #14526

Differential patterns of exposure to physical and psychosocial Stressors and musculoskeletal prevalence among men and women employed in assembly line production

Leslie A. MacDonald, MS, Industrywide Studies Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS R-15, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998, (513) 841-4529, lzc0@cdc.gov and Laura Punnett, ScD, Dept. of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854.

Differential patterns of exposure and health were examined among men and women employed in assembly production. A questionnaire was administered to 220 workers (81% participation rate) inquiring about demographics, exposure to physical and psychosocial stressors, psychological distress and musculoskeletal symptoms. Half (50%) of the participants were female. The results showed that women were more often employed in assembly operations, whereas men worked more in production support functions such as in-line repair and utility worker. Correspondingly, women were employed in lower wage jobs, they performed more short-cycle tasks and their decision latitude (job control) was lower. Men exposed to high physical demands had higher exertional demands, such as forceful pushing/pulling and impact force. Overall musculoskeletal symptom prevalence ranged from a low of 8% for the elbow, 23% for the hand/wrist, 25% for the neck/shoulder, and 46% for any upper extremity (UE) site. Women had a higher prevalence for the neck/shoulder (53% vs 16%) and for any UE site (58% versus 37%); this disparity existed even among those workers exposed to dual loads (high physical load and high job strain). These findings highlight the need for epidemiologic analyses to include more gender-specific results, permitting examinations of differences in the nature and frequency of occupational exposures and important covariates. Larger studies are needed to further examine these differences and the effect of dual exposures on the risk for musculoskeletal disorders.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to: 1) identify disparities in the exposure profiles of men and women 2) recognize the need for gender stratified analyses 3) understand the role of workplace exposures in contributing to a disproportunate burden of musculoskeletal morbidity among female workers

Keywords: Gender, Ergonomics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA