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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010115

Inhibiting the Physiological Stress Effects of a Sustained Attention Task on Shoulder Muscle Activity

1
School of Design & Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, V94 T9PX Limerick, Ireland
2
Department of Clinical Therapies, University of Limerick, V94 T9PX Limerick, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Work Stress and the Development of Chronic Diseases)
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Abstract

Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate if a breathing technique could counteract the effects of hyperventilation due to a sustained attention task on shoulder muscle activity. Background: The trend towards higher levels of automation in industry is increasing. Consequently, manufacturing operators often monitor automated process for long periods of their work shift. Prolonged monitoring work requires sustained attention, which is a cognitive process that humans are typically poor at and find stressful. As sustained attention becomes an increasing requirement of manufacturing operators’ job content, the resulting stress experienced could contribute to the onset of many health problems, including work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). Methods: The SART attention test was completed by a group of participants before and after a breathing intervention exercise. The effects of the abdominal breathing intervention on breathing rate, upper trapezius muscle activity and end-tidal CO2 were evaluated. Results: The breathing intervention reduced the moderation effect of end-tidal CO2 on upper trapezius muscle activity. Conclusions: Abdominal breathing could be a useful technique in reducing the effects of sustained attention work on muscular activity. Application: This research can be applied to highly-automated manufacturing industries, where prolonged monitoring of work is widespread and could, in its role as a stressor, be a potential contributor to WRMSDs. View Full-Text
Keywords: vigilance; musculoskeletal system; work physiology; industrial/workplace ergonomics; job stress vigilance; musculoskeletal system; work physiology; industrial/workplace ergonomics; job stress
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Wixted, F.; O’Riordan, C.; O’Sullivan, L. Inhibiting the Physiological Stress Effects of a Sustained Attention Task on Shoulder Muscle Activity. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 115.

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