In addition to these relationships, the men who reported problems in software use generally perceived higher mental work load and had a lower educational level.
In conclusion, the percentage of employees using VDTs varied greatly among the different branches of industry and was clearly lower in the older age groups. Also the daily length of VDT work differed among the branches. Difficulties in software use and in learning were reported by 14% of those using VDTs. The difficulties were more common among men than women, and especially among older workers and those with a lower basic education.
Interestingly, the longer daily VDT use was associated more clearly with job stressors and strain symptoms among men than women. Women suffered mainly from eye discomfort. Regarding job stressors and well-being in VDT work, sectorially the situation was best in production as compared to public service work. Low job control has also been frequently found to lead to psychological distress among VDT workers ( Carayon et al. 1995, Lindström et al. 1997).
The difficulties in software use were associated with older age and low job control and low social support, and also to elevated strain and lower job satisfaction. Sectorially, the situation of women was best in public services. The software problems were, however, mainly related to individual background factors and to the organizational practices. The lack of social support has been found also earlier to be a risk factor for VDT-related strain (Carayon et al. 1995), and especially supervisory support is important when implementing new VDTs and software.
The qualitative differences in VDT-related job stressors and strain were clear between the genders and various branches. The national surveillance of VDT use and its consequences on work stressors and well-being seemed to have sigificance in seeking out the high risk sectors and individuals in need of preventive actions, such as training and job redesign.
Carayon, P. ( 1997). "Temporal issues of quality of working life and stress in human-computer interaction". International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 9 ( 4), 325-342.
Carayon, P., Yang C.,, & Lim, S.-Y. ( 1995). "Examining the relationship between job design and worker strain over time in a sample of office workers". Ergonomics, 38, 1199-1211.