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Occupational stress in human computer interaction.
Ind Health 1999 Apr;37(2):157-73
Smith MJ, Conway FT, Karsh BT
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706, USA.
There have been a variety of research approaches that have examined the stress issues related to human computer interaction including laboratory studies, cross-sectional surveys, longitudinal case studies and intervention studies. A critical review of these studies indicates that there are important physiological, biochemical, somatic and psychological indicators of stress that are related to work activities where human computer interaction occurs. Many of the stressors of human computer interaction at work are similar to those stressors that have historically been observed in other automated jobs. These include high workload, high work pressure, diminished job control, inadequate employee training to use new technology, monotonous tasks, poor supervisory relations, and fear for job security. New stressors have emerged that can be tied primarily to human computer interaction. These include technology breakdowns, technology slowdowns, and electronic performance monitoring. The effects of the stress of human computer interaction in the workplace are increased physiological arousal; somatic complaints, especially of the musculoskeletal system; mood disturbances, particularly anxiety, fear and anger; and diminished quality of working life, such as reduced job satisfaction. Interventions to reduce the stress of computer technology have included improved technology implementation approaches and increased employee participation in implementation. Recommendations for ways to reduce the stress of human computer interaction at work are presented. These include proper ergonomic conditions, increased organizational support, improved job content, proper workload to decrease work pressure, and enhanced opportunities for social support. A model approach to the design of human computer interaction at work that focuses on the system "balance" is proposed.
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