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Mixter, Susanna, DoktorandORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-4283-4199
Publications (8 of 8) Show all publications
Mixter, S., Mathiassen, S. E., Hallman, D. & Bjärntoft, S. (2019). Alternations between physical and cognitive tasks – does temporal pattern and cognitive task difficulty influence fatigue development?. In: : . Paper presented at 10th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2-5 September 2019, Bologna, Italy.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Alternations between physical and cognitive tasks – does temporal pattern and cognitive task difficulty influence fatigue development?
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background

Some evidence suggests that alternations between physical and cognitive work tasks may be a viable option for job rotation, since production can be maintained without excessive fatigue. Effects on fatigue and pain of the temporal distribution of physical and cognitive tasks are, however, uncertain. The aim of this study was to examine development of fatigue and pain during physical and cognitive work tasks of different difficulties, alternating in different temporal patterns.

Methods

Fifteen women performed alternating bouts of a physical task (phys) and a cognitive task (CT) for a total of 100 minutes. Four experimental conditions were tested in a repeated-measures design. Conditions 1 and 2 consisted of five long-cycle sequences (phys+CT, 14+6 minutes), and in conditions 3 and 4, 10 short-cycle sequences (7+3 minutes) were performed. Each temporal pattern was completed with an easy or a difficult CT. Muscle fatigue was assessed using surface electromyography (EMG) from the right trapezius, and perceived fatigue and pain in the right shoulder was assessed using CR-10 ratings. Effects of time and experimental condition on these outcomes were tested using ANOVA.

Results

Perceived fatigue and pain in right shoulder after pipetting work bouts increased in all four conditions (long-cycle, fatigue F=5.68, p<0.001, pain F=4.12, p=0.01; short-cycle, fatigue F=10.59, p<0.001, pain F=5.45, p<0.001). Trapezius EMG did not change significantly across work bouts (long-cycle, F=2.14, p=0.09; short-cycle, F=1.03, p=0.42). Irrespective of the temporal alternation pattern, neither EMG nor fatigue and pain were influenced by CT difficulty (CT main effect and CT×time interaction: EMG, all F≤2.5, p≥0.1; fatigue and pain, all F≤2.0, p≥0.7).

Conclusions

The temporal pattern of alternations between a repetitive physical task and a CT did not influence fatigue development, and the difficulty level of the CT did not significantly influence fatigue and pain, irrespective of the temporal alternation pattern.

National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-30731 (URN)
Conference
10th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2-5 September 2019, Bologna, Italy
Funder
AFA Insurance, 120223
Available from: 2019-10-04 Created: 2019-10-04 Last updated: 2019-10-14Bibliographically approved
Mixter, S., Mathiassen, S. E. & Hallman, D. (2019). Alternations between physical and cognitive tasks in repetitive work – Effect of cognitive task difficulty on fatigue development in women. Ergonomics, 62(8), 1008-1022
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Alternations between physical and cognitive tasks in repetitive work – Effect of cognitive task difficulty on fatigue development in women
2019 (English)In: Ergonomics, ISSN 0014-0139, E-ISSN 1366-5847, Vol. 62, no 8, p. 1008-1022Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a context of job rotation, this study determined the extent to which the difficulty of a cognitive task (CT) interspersed between bouts of repetitive, low-intensity work (pipetting) influences recovery from fatigue. Fifteen participants performed three experimental sessions, each comprising 10 repeats of a 7 min + 3 min combination of pipetting and CT. The CT was easy, moderate or hard. Surface electromyography (EMG amplitude of the forearm extensor and trapezius muscles) and self-reports was used to assess fatigability. Perceived fatigue and trapezius EMG amplitude increased during sessions. CT difficulty influenced fatigue development only little, besides forearm extensor EMG increasing more in CT3 than in CT1 and CT2. During CT bouts, fatigability recovered, and to a similar extent irrespective of CT. Thus, CT difficulty influenced recovery of perceived as well as performance fatigability to a minor extent, and may not be a critical issue in job rotation comprising alternating physical and cognitive tasks.

Keywords
Repetitive work, fatigue, recovery, physical load, mental load, variation
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-26536 (URN)10.1080/00140139.2019.1614229 (DOI)000469647700001 ()31056015 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85065848351 (Scopus ID)
Funder
AFA Insurance, 120223
Available from: 2018-05-03 Created: 2018-05-03 Last updated: 2019-08-19Bibliographically approved
Mixter, S., Mathiassen, S. E., Lindfors, P., Dimberg, K., Jahncke, H., Lyskov, E. & Hallman, D. (2019). Stress-related responses to alternations between repetitive physical work and cognitive tasks of different difficulties. Applied Ergonomics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stress-related responses to alternations between repetitive physical work and cognitive tasks of different difficulties
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2019 (English)In: Applied Ergonomics, ISSN 0003-6870, E-ISSN 1872-9126Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This experimental study aimed to determine the extent to which a repetitive physical task alternatingwith a cognitive task (CT) influences stress responses and whether the CT difficulty is important. Fifteen women performed three sessions of 10 consecutive work bouts, each including a seven-minutere petitive physical task and a three-minute CT at either of three difficulty levels. Stress-related responses were assessed using heart rate variability, blood pressure, salivary alpha-amylase, salivary cortisol, perceived stress and cognitive performance.The alternating work did not result in any marked increase in perceived stress or changes in stressresponses. CT difficulty did not influence stress responses (all p>0.05), apart from alpha-amylase which was higher during the easiest CT (F= 5.34, p= 0.02). Thus, introducing cognitive work bouts into repetitive physical work did not result in increased levels of stress, suggesting this approach to be viable in job rotation.

Keywords
recovery, stress, mental task
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-30459 (URN)
Funder
AFA Insurance, 120223
Available from: 2019-08-06 Created: 2019-08-06 Last updated: 2019-08-26Bibliographically approved
Mixter, S., Mathiassen, S. E. & Hallman, D. (2018). Alternations between physical and mental tasks – a viable option for job rotation?. In: : . Paper presented at 20th Congress International Ergonomics Association, 26-30 August, 2018, Florens, Italy.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Alternations between physical and mental tasks – a viable option for job rotation?
2018 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27878 (URN)
Conference
20th Congress International Ergonomics Association, 26-30 August, 2018, Florens, Italy
Funder
AFA Insurance
Available from: 2018-09-07 Created: 2018-09-07 Last updated: 2018-09-10Bibliographically approved
Mathiassen, S. E., Hygge, S., Jahncke, H. & Mixter, S. (2018). Kombination av fysiska och mentala arbetsuppgifter: en modell för effektiv arbetsrotation?. In: Lindberg, Per (Ed.), FALF konferens 2018 Arbetet – problem eller potential för en hållbar livsmiljö?: Program och Abstracts. Paper presented at FALF konferens 2018 'Arbetet – problem eller potential för en hållbar livsmiljö?', 10-12 juni 2018, Gävle (pp. 56-57). Gävle: Gävle University Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Kombination av fysiska och mentala arbetsuppgifter: en modell för effektiv arbetsrotation?
2018 (Swedish)In: FALF konferens 2018 Arbetet – problem eller potential för en hållbar livsmiljö?: Program och Abstracts / [ed] Lindberg, Per, Gävle: Gävle University Press , 2018, p. 56-57Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [sv]

Fysisk variation i arbetet anses allmänt av både forskare och praktiker att vara en förutsättning för god hälsa. Både för hög och för låg belastning kan med tiden leda till sämre välbefinnande och prestation. Den gällande föreskriften om belastningsergonomi (AFS 2012:2) anger specifikt att problem med repetitivt, styrt och bundet arbete ska förebyggas genom ökad variation, ”till exempel genom arbetsväxling, arbetsutvidgning eller pauser.” Samtidigt visar flera aktuella forskningsöversikter om variation och arbetsrotation att det vetenskapliga stödet för att dessa initiativ verkligen leder till bättre hälsa är otillräckligt. En anledning kan vara att de idéer till ökad variation som studerats har varit ineffektiva, till exempel därför att de arbetsuppgifter man växlat mellan har varit snarlika till sin belastning, eller att man, som i många studier av pauser, endast kunnat intervenera under en mindre del av arbetsdagen av hänsyn till produktionen. En modell för arbetsrotation med potential för att både säkra en hållbar produktion och leda till god fysisk och mental variation skulle kunna vara att kombinera fysiskt belastande arbets-uppgifter med produktiva uppgifter som ställer mentala krav, men inte är fysiskt krävande. Vid Forte-centret har vi under ett antal år arbetat med denna modell ur olika perspektiv.Det här symposiet ger en överblick över vår forskning. Vi kommer att sammanfatta det internationella forskningsläget, både om variation i stort och specifikt om kombinationer av fysiskt och mentalt belastande arbetsuppgifter. Vi kommer även att presentera en ny princip för hur man kan arbeta med belastning, variation och återhämtning: Guldlocks-principen. Vi kommer att visa resultat från våra egna studier av förekomsten av omväx-lande fysiska och mentala arbetsuppgifter i detaljhandel och industri, och vilka mönster av omväxling de anställda föredrar. Vidare kommer vi att gå igenom våra studier av stress och trötthetsutveckling då man kombinerar repetitivt fysiskt arbete med en mental uppgift av olika svårighetsgrader. Sammantaget kommer symposiet att visa både vilken forskning vi och andra bedrivit på området och vilka forskningsbehov som kvarstår för att svara på om en arbetsrotation som kombinerar fysiska och mentala arbetsuppgifter kan vara effektiv, både vad gäller hälsoeffekter och produktion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gävle: Gävle University Press, 2018
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27065 (URN)978-91-88145-28-4 (ISBN)
Conference
FALF konferens 2018 'Arbetet – problem eller potential för en hållbar livsmiljö?', 10-12 juni 2018, Gävle
Available from: 2018-06-15 Created: 2018-06-15 Last updated: 2018-06-21Bibliographically approved
Jahncke, H., Hygge, S., Mathiassen, S. E., Hallman, D., Mixter, S. & Lyskov, E. (2017). Variation at work: alternations between physically and mentally demanding tasks in blue-collar occupations. Ergonomics, 60(9), 1218-1227
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Variation at work: alternations between physically and mentally demanding tasks in blue-collar occupations
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2017 (English)In: Ergonomics, ISSN 0014-0139, E-ISSN 1366-5847, Vol. 60, no 9, p. 1218-1227Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aims of this questionnaire study were to describe the occurrence and desired number of alternations between mental and physical tasks in industrial and non-industrial blue-collar work, and determine to which extent selected personal and occupational factors influence these conditions. On average, the 122 participating workers (55 females) reported to have close to four alternations per day between mental and physical tasks, and to desire more alternations than they actually had. They also expressed a general preference for performing a physical task after a mental task and vice versa. In univariate regression models, the desired change in task alternations was significantly associated with Gender, Age, Occupation, Years with current work tasks, and Perceived job control, while Occupation was the only significant determinant in a multiple regression model including all factors. Our results suggest that alternations between productive physical and mental tasks could be a viable option in future job rotation.

Keywords
cognitive task, job rotation, pause, physical variation, repetitive work
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22560 (URN)10.1080/00140139.2017.1282630 (DOI)000405845900004 ()28112588 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85011278003 (Scopus ID)
Funder
AFA Insurance, 120223
Available from: 2016-10-07 Created: 2016-10-07 Last updated: 2018-03-22Bibliographically approved
Jahncke, H., Hygge, S., Mathiassen, S. E., Hallman, D., Mixter, S. & Lyskov, E. (2016). A cross-sectional study of alternations between physical and mental tasks. In: : . Paper presented at Ninth International Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PREMUS), June 20-23, 2016, Toronto, Canada.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A cross-sectional study of alternations between physical and mental tasks
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2016 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background. Health and well-being at work is generally assumed to be associated with sufficient physical and mental variation. Job rotation, where workers typically alternate between different physical tasks, is a popular initiative. Controlled experiments suggest that favourable effects are associated with alternations between mental and physical tasks, but little is known about this intervention in real work. The aims of this study were (1) to describe the occurrence of alternations between mental and physical tasks, and (2) to identify key determinants of such alternations.

Method. We developed a questionnaire combining established questions with specific questions about alternations. Workers from two occupations (industrial and non-industrial blue-collar work), in jobs containing both physical and mental tasks, were included in the study. 122 (55 females) out of 293 workers approached at four companies answered the questionnaire.

Results. On average, the workers alternated 3.5 times per day between mental and physical tasks. In the non-industrial companies, workers reported wanting more alternations than they had, while desired and actual alternations did not differ in the industrial companies. This effect of occupation on the difference between the number of alternations wanted and the actual alternations available was significant (p < 0.001). Furthermore, there was a general preference for performing a physical task after a mental task, and vice versa. This main effect of primarily performed task type (i.e. either physical or mental) on preferred subsequent task type was significant (p < 0.001). In a univariate analysis, gender appeared to be a strong determinant of the occurrence of alternations, but the effect was absorbed when adding the occupation variable.

Discussion. Within the studied companies, work offered alternations between mental and physical tasks and there was a preference among workers to alternate between tasks. Occupation rather than gender was a key determinant of the number of alternations reported.

National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21905 (URN)
Conference
Ninth International Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PREMUS), June 20-23, 2016, Toronto, Canada
Available from: 2016-06-23 Created: 2016-06-23 Last updated: 2018-12-03Bibliographically approved
Mixter, S., Mathiassen, S. E., Jahncke, H., Hallman, D. & Lindfors, P. (2016). Does the difficulty of a memory task interspersed between bouts of repetitive work influence recovery?. In: : . Paper presented at Ninth International Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PREMUS), Toronto, June 20-23, 2016 (pp. 398).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Does the difficulty of a memory task interspersed between bouts of repetitive work influence recovery?
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2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background. Controlled experiments suggest that active breaks with mental activity interspersed between physical work bouts can lead to more effective recovery from fatigue than passive rest. However, most of these studies investigated a highly stereotyped physical task until exhaustion. Research investigating the effects of mental breaks in tasks of higher occupational relevance is limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the extent to which a working memory task performed at three difficulty levels would enhance recovery of perceived fatigue after a repetitive physical work task.

Methods. 12 women (mean age 26.4) performed 10 work cycles each comprising seven minutes of pipetting (to model repetitive work) followed by three minutes devoted to a working memory task. Three difficulty levels (MT1, MT2, MT3) of the memory task were tested on three different days in a randomized order across participants. During the last minute of pipetting and after the memory task, participants rated fatigue on the Borg CR-10 scale. Before, during and after each experiment, salivary a-amylase was measured.

Results. Perceived fatigue in the right shoulder during the last minute of pipetting increased with time (p<0.001) but did not significantly differ between types of MT (p=0.314). Perceived fatigue in the right shoulder just after the memory task also increased with time (p<0.001), and in a pattern differing between MT types (time*MT: p=0.042), while MT type showed no significant main effect (p=0.169). Post-hoc tests showed that MT3 led to better recovery than MT1 (effect of MT: p=0.041; time*MT: p=0.025). Salivary a-amylase increased with time (p=0.001) but showed no significant effects of MT type (p=0.214).

Discussion. Our results indicate that recovery of perceived fatigue after a repetitive task was better when performing a difficult — as compared to an easy — memory task. This effect was not accompanied by any differences in a-amylase response.

National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21895 (URN)
Conference
Ninth International Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PREMUS), Toronto, June 20-23, 2016
Available from: 2016-06-23 Created: 2016-06-23 Last updated: 2018-06-11Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-4283-4199

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