|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 279-282
Self-reported morbidities among software professionals – A cross-sectional study
Lipilekha Patnaik, Sumitra Pattanaik, Trilochan Sahu
Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, Siksha “O” Anusandhan (Deemed to be University), Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
|Date of Submission||24-Jan-2020|
|Date of Decision||18-Mar-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||08-Oct-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||18-Oct-2021|
Dr. Lipilekha Patnaik
Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, Siksha “O” Anusandhan (Deemed to be University), Sector-8, Kalinga Nagar, Ghatikia, Bhubaneswar - 751 003, Odisha
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: In the modern era, persons working in software companies are increasing, and there is an emergence of computer-related health problems. Objectives: The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of various morbidities among software professionals and to assess the factors associated with these problems. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study of 4 months from March 2016 to June 2016 was conducted among software professionals. Two hundred and sixty software professionals in the current job for the past 1 year were included in the study. A Google form was created through Google drive of the primary investigator. The E-mail id of persons working in software companies was collected through friends, relatives, and Internet. One person can send one response option was selected. The Google form was sent to their mail id with a request to forward the Google form to their contacts working in software. Results: Among the study participants, 53.8% of persons feel they were having health problems due to prolonged computer use. More than 70% had visual problems such as eye pain, eye strain, eye redness, blurring of vision, or watery eyes. It was observed, 63% of software professionals had some type of musculoskeletal problems. About 40% had headaches frequently and 47% had gastrointestinal problems. About 67.7% feel stressed due to their prolonged work and 35% feel depressed. A significant association was found between participants with visual and musculoskeletal complaints using antiglare screen and soft keypads and those not using, respectively. Conclusion: Ocular discomfort, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychosocial problems were main health problems among constant computer users which needs urgent intervention.
Keywords: Computer, ergonomics, health problems, information technology personnel
|How to cite this article:|
Patnaik L, Pattanaik S, Sahu T. Self-reported morbidities among software professionals – A cross-sectional study. J Datta Meghe Inst Med Sci Univ 2021;16:279-82
| Introduction|| |
In the modern era, software industries are growing day by day globally and persons working in these companies are increasing and there is an emergence of computer-related health problems. They perform long stretches of complicated and stressful work on the computer and their nature of work and work schedule are putting the health of software professionals in danger.
India has been in the forefront in the cyber world with information technology (IT) industry developing into a major service provider. There are approximately six computers per thousand population with an installation of 18 million personal computers, and their number is increasing all the time. The long periods of working at a computer as most people do can cause musculoskeletal problems, eyestrain, and overuse injuries of the hands and wrists, which can be reduced or eliminated with proper workstation design and improved posture. A survey done by the American Optometric Association estimates that at least 10 million cases of computer-related eyestrain were reported each year. Using the wrong chair or just sitting improperly in front of a computer for a long time can lead to chronic debilities such as stiffness, headache, and backache. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common example of an overuse injury associated with computer work. The fingers are also prone to overuse injury, particularly the finger that clicks the mouse buttons. Surveys of computer workers reveal that vision-related problems are the most frequently reported health-related problems, occurring in over 70% of computer workers.
The present study was undertaken with this background and following objectives to estimate the prevalence of various morbidities among software professionals and to assess the factors associated with these morbidities.
| Materials and Methods|| |
A cross-sectional study was conducted in a period of 4 months from March 2016 to June 2016 among software professionals after clearance by the institutional ethics committee. Persons working in the IT sector at least for 1 year were included in the study. A total of 260 software professionals were participated by the snowball sampling method.
A Google form was created through Google drive of the primary investigator. The E-mail id of persons working in software companies was collected through friends, relatives, and the Internet. One person-one response option was selected. The Google form was sent to their E-mail id with a request to forward the Google form to their contacts working in software industries. In this way, the responses were recorded up to the estimated sample size reached. The incomplete and vague responses were deleted before analysis. Data were entered into Microsoft Excel and analyzed using SPSS so ware version 20 licensed to the institute. Frequencies were described as mean and standard deviation (for continuous variables), number, and percentage (for categorical variables). Association between categorical variables was evaluated using the Chi-squared test.
| Results|| |
The mean age of the study population was 31.8 ± 4.9 years. Among them, 64.6% were male and 35.4% were female. About 93.8% of participants were working in India and 6.2% working outside India. The median work experience was 9 years. The average working time per day was 9.2 ± 1.2 h and the average time of sitting near the computer per day was 7.87 ± 2.3 h. As mentioned by participants, 38.5% were doing regular exercise, and the median time of exercise was 35 min. The exercises and games were Yoga, jogging, cycling, walking, swimming, gym workout, playing badminton, football, cricket, etc., The meantime of sleep in weekdays was 6.85 ± 1.2 h and the meantime of sleep in weekends was 9.55 ± 2.8 h. About one-third of participants were not having a sound sleep. During weekends, they spend time by sleeping, doing household work, watching television, shopping, outing with family, seeing movies, relaxing, etc [Table 1] and [Table 2].
Among the study participants, 53.8% of persons feel that they were having health problems due to prolonged computer use. More than 70% had complained of visual problems. When explored further, the common visual symptoms were eye strain (55.4%), eye redness (36.9%), watery eyes (27.7%), blurring of vision (24.6%), eye pain (21.5%), etc., Eye redness was significantly higher among males. It was found that 63% of software professionals had some type of musculoskeletal problems. The common musculoskeletal problems were back pain (53.8%), neck pain (46.2%), shoulder pain (46.2%), and tingling sensation of hand (24.6%). Neck pain was significantly higher among females (P = 0.013). Headache was found in 38.5% of participants and 46.2% had gastrointestinal problems. About 67.7% feel stressed due to their prolonged work and 35.4% feel depressed. Fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and stress were significantly higher among males (P < 0.05).
When enquired about some facilities provided by the company, 78.5% of participants said that the antiglare screen of the monitor was used in their company. When analyzed visual problems and antiglare screen, visual problems were significantly higher among those not using antiglare screen (P = 0.007). As per 71% of participants, cushioned chairs were supplied by their employer. Musculoskeletal problems were found to be significantly higher (P = 0.000) among those not using cushioned chairs. Soft keypads were provided in the office as per 58.5% of participants and tingling sensation found to significantly higher among those not using the soft keypad (P = 0.013).
| Discussion|| |
The average working time per day among the study participants was 9.2 ± 1.2 h, which is also similar to studies by Ramesh et al. (working hours per day was 9.23 h), Saleem et al. (9.4 h) and Babu et al. (9.1 h).
There was disturbed sleep quality among 32.3% of our study participants, which was almost similar to the findings of Ramesh et al. (where it was about 25.5%), but it was contrary to the findings of that of Zadeh and Begum (study conducted in Israel) where it was reported to be as high as 56.1%.
Regular exercise of some form was done by 38.5% of the professionals, which is little higher as compared to the results of the study by Saleem et al. where only 28.1% of the IT professionals were involved in physical activity. Moreover, the different forms of physical activities involved were Yoga, jogging, cycling, walking, swimming, gym workout, playing badminton, football, and cricket.
As high as 53.8% of our study participants experienced frequent headache, but it was reported to be higher in other studies like 85%, 71%, and 61%.
Insomnia, as reported in our study, is as high as 32.3%, which is almost similar to the findings of Deguchi et al. where they reported that approximately 36% of IT professionals in Japan also suffer from insomnia. However, an online study by Yardi and Adsule among people working in corporate sectors revealed that only 13.8% of their study participants experienced insomnia. This finding clearly depicts that the magnitude of insomnia is comparatively higher among IT professionals.
About 35.4% of the study participants revealed to suffer from depression while studies by Ghatule and Ghatule et al. revealed that about 69.7% suffered from some form of depression (comprising both major and minor form) and a news report from Karnataka published in The Hindu states that almost a quarter of IT professionals suffer from depression.
Visual problems among IT professionals in our study were about 70.8%, which is also similar to the finding of Talwar et al. done in Delhi NCR, where they reported visual problems of as high as 76%. However, lower visual problems (52%) were observed by Prasad in a similar kind of study done in Nagpur district of Central India.
Musculoskeletal problems were observed in as high as 63.07% of our study participants, of which 65.8% were male and 34.2% were female. However, studies done by Talwar et al. in Delhi NCR showed a higher prevalence of 76.5% and by Swetha NB et al. in Bengaluru showed a prevalence of 70%.
Backache was the most common musculoskeletal problem observed, which affected more than half of the study population (53.8%), whereas studies by Charpe revealed similar findings, i.e., 50%.
A significant association was found between subjects with visual complaints and no antiglare screen, musculoskeletal complaints, and nonavailability of cushioned chairs, tingling sensation of hand and nonavailability of soft keypads. A similar association was also reported by Shrivastava and Bobhate in their study done among software professionals in Mumbai.
| Conclusion|| |
Among the study participants, 53.2% of persons feel that they were having health problems due to prolonged computer use. Ocular discomfort, musculoskeletal disorders, fatigue, and stress form the main category of health problems found among constant computer users, which needs urgent intervention. A better work environment such as cushioned chairs, antiglare screen, and soft keypad may be provided. Health education about problems related to computer use and its prevention modalities should be given to software professionals. Preventive health strategies, regular screening, and improved ergonomics may encourage better health and yield more work productivity among the IT professionals.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Table 1], [Table 2]