Work and health: a gender study on systems analysts

OBJECTIVE: To assess the health impact of working conditions among male and female systems analysts. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 533 systems analysts of two data analysis companies located in the metropolitan area of São Paulo were studied. Data was collected using work ergonomic assessments, individual and group semi-structured interviews and a self-applied questionnaire. Data analysis was based on contingency tables, Chi-square values at 5% level, prevalence rates and ratios, and their 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: Of the participants, 40.7% were women who on average were younger that the studied men (59.6% of women and 39% of men were in the age range 25 to 34). Though fatherhood was more frequently seen among men (57.6% x 34.2% for women), women spent more time with household tasks, including children care. There were more men in leading management positions. Work-related discomfort factors were seen in both sexes at similar frequencies. Men most commonly complained of work overload due to tight deadlines, high degree of responsibility, mental strain, and work complexity. Women more frequently complained of postural discomfort, higher exposure to video display terminal, and obsolete equipment. Women reported more visual, musculoskeletal and stress related symptoms, and higher work dissatisfaction and mental fatigue. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that the health impact on female systems analysts is associated with the work demands and the women's social role. There is a need of further studies associating health, work and gender and an assessment of the intersection between the domestic and productive roles.

Occupational health; Stress; Computers; Women working; Ergonomics (environmental health); Working conditions; Systems analysts

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