Content » Vol 27, Issue 2

Physical strength and endurance in relation to perceived psychosocial work environment, sleep disturbance and coping strategies in men. Stockholm MUSIC I (MUsculo-Skeletal Intervention Centre) Study Group, Stockholm

Theorell T, Schüldt C, Ekholm J, Michélsen H
Department of Occupational Health, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
DOI: 10.1080/1650197795276771


The study explored relationships between subjective descriptions of psychosocial work situation, sleep disturbance and coping patterns at work on the one hand and performance during a test of physical strength and perceived effort during a muscular endurance test on the other. The physical strength of the shoulders flexors was measured. The subjective degree of effort was rated 60 and 90 seconds after the beginning of a test of isometric endurance of the neck extensor muscles. Four samples with numbers of about 80 subjects each were studied, first of all one sample of men and one of women from the general working population and secondly a sample of "super male" workers (furniture removers) and a sample of "service oriented female" workers (medical secretaries). The findings indicated that there is a relationship among men between self-reported coping strategies at work and results in the physical tests. Thus, in the random sample of men, individuals who described open coping patterns were found to perceive more effort after one minute and also after one minute and a half of the physical endurance test and were also found to be physically stronger than other individuals. Those who described themselves as less supported socially than other men reported more subjective effort and tended to be physically stronger than other individuals. Among furniture removers, those who described that they had a high degree of covert coping tended to report a higher degree of subjective effort after one minute. Among men in both groups, a high degree of sleep disturbance tended to be associated with more perceived effort during the endurance test.

Lay Abstract


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