Kaitlin M. Gallagher1, Christopher C. Rosen1, Charles C. Calderwood2, Taylor Norman1, & Sydney Ahart1

1University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas; 2Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Many jobs require workers to perform tasks while standing; however, musculoskeletal pain during standing is common and may negatively affect personal resources (e.g., mental exhaustion, energy exertion) and job performance. PURPOSE: Assess if perceived mental exhaustion and energy exertion differ when participants developed musculoskeletal pain during 75-min of standing. METHODS: A convenience sample of thirty-six participants (18-40 years) stood for 75-min while performing computer tasks. Before starting, participants completed a 100 mm Visual Analog Scale (VAS) anchored with “no pain at all” to “worst pain imaginable” about their current lower back and lower limb pain and answered, “I feel mentally exhausted right now,” on a 5-pt Likert scale. After 75-min, they provided their VAS scores, reported mental exhaustion, and answered, “I exerted a lot of energy over the last 75-min” on a 5-pt Likert scale. Participants developed low back pain (LBP) if they had a VAS>9 mm in their lower back, lower limb pain (LLP) if they had a VAS>9 mm in their knees/feet, and No Pain (NP) if all regions were below 10 mm. RESULTS: Ten participants developed LBP, nine developed LLP, and 17 developed no pain. There was a significant effect of Pain Group on energy exertion (p=.037, η2=.14; Figure 1). The LBP group reported greater energy exertion than the NP group. While the LBP group reported higher mental exhaustion after standing than the NP group, the main effect of Pain Group was not significant (p=.110, η2=.06). The LLP group was not significantly different from the LBP or NP groups for either variable. CONCLUSIONS: Energy depletion after standing is an important finding, as previous studies have linked energy resources to job performance. Follow-up studies will confirm these results in a different sample and assess how developing pain can affect job performance. We will also further assess the importance of pain region (lower back versus lower limbs) on physical resources and job performance.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: This study was supported by an Arkansas Department of Higher Education Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a University of Arkansas Honors College Research Grant.

Figure 1.docx (34 kB)
Figure 1

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