Health education using the theory of planned behavior to modify ergonomic posture in hospital computer users: a randomized controlled trial.Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2023 01; 96(1):167-178.IA
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are prevalent in those who use computers, and education using ergonomic principles may be helpful to prevent such conditions. The present study sought to identify how an educational intervention based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) may be effective for adopting healthy ergonomic postures.
A convenience sample of 162 computer users working in a hospital setting in Iran were randomly assigned to intervention or control groups. The intervention group (n = 81) received six weekly educational sessions based on TPB principles, whereas the control group received no intervention during the study period. Both groups were assessed at baseline and 3 months after the intervention using a TPB questionnaire, rapid office strain assessment (ROSA), and Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire. Data were analyzed using the independent/paired Student's t test, chi-square, and analysis of covariance.
All TPB constructs in the intervention group improved from baseline to follow-up, indicating considerable progress compared to the control group (p < 0.001). More than 60% of intervention and control groups were categorized as high risk at baseline in terms of ergonomic posture measured by ROSA. This percentage was reduced to 21% for intervention group and increased to 65% in the control group at follow-up. Symptom relief was obtained for wrist/hands, lower back, neck, shoulders and upper back in the intervention group (all p < 0.05). The number of affected areas also significantly decreased in the intervention group compared to the control group three months after the intervention.
Educational programs based on TPB principles may be helpful in correcting ergonomic postures among computer users. Such interventions are recommended for worksite health promotion in that they may prevent the development of musculoskeletal disorders in staff.