Research objectives and content
In international occupational medicine there is at present a strong movement towards the incorporation of psychosocial factors within the framework of work organization. The planned studies in Sweden should be seen as a part of this development in which validation of self-administered questionnaire data is an important component.
NORRTALJE Study Within this large ongoing case referent study of low back pain and neck/shoulder disorders, I will examine a subgroup of about 60 patients and 100 healthy referents: Psychosocial and ergonomical data are being collected and extensive interviews carried out regarding their work and home activities. Blood samples will be analyzed for stress and physical load parameters. Analysis of all the results should show to what extent the data collected from both the objective examinations and from the self-completed questionnaires do reflect psychological mechanisms of relevance to the development and the clinical course of low back pain and neck/shoulder disorders. Further analysis shall examine whether some psychosocial factors have effects on psychophysiological parameters which could increase the likelihood both of alterations of tissue changes and in the perception of illness.
WOLF Study This study is concerned with examining the interaction of psychosocial working conditions and risk factors for coronary heart disease. Data has already been collected from several thousand subjects. Here also I will compare self-reported working conditions and expert rating to evaluate validity.
Training content (objective. benefit and expected impact)
The undertaking of both studies will allow me to become familiar with the techniques necessary for evaluating psychosocial demands and their impact on the employee-s health. These techniques require psychological, social, physiological, endocrinological, ergonomical, orthopedic and also statistical skills. After my research visit to Stockholm I will be continuing my research work on this field (Habilitation) at the Department of Occupational Health at the University of Wuppertal.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The research results of the field described are of major importance for industry. Psychosocial factors at the work place have a direct effect on productivity because they influence work efficiency and sick leave due to acute and chronic disease or exhaustion. I am planning to focus my future research work on the question of how the research results obtained can be assimilated into work organization, which has to be performed in close cooperation with industry.