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The effects of warnings and an educational brochure on computer working posture: a test of the C-HIP model in the context of RSI-relevant behaviour

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This study tested whether warnings can result in a better working posture with respect to RSI prevention compared with an educational brochure. By using a warning, the information provision on how to prevent RSI can be shorter and only interrupts with the task at hand for a short time. Five conditions were created to compare the effects on position adjustments of a warning displayed on the computer screen, a warning hanging on the wall, an educational brochure, a neutral interruption on the computer screen, and no intervention. Systematic observations of respondents' working postures showed that the computer warning led to significantly more correct position adjustments than the educational brochure and the two control situations, whereas the wall warning condition did not differ significantly from all other conditions. Questionnaires were used to study whether the number of position adjustments in the conditions could be explained by Wogalter's communication-human information processing (C-HIP) model. The questionnaire data suggest that the effect of the computer warning is caused by heightened attention for this type of intervention. The other stages of the C-HIP model--knowledge, attitude change, and motivation--might not be necessary in this situation in the explanation of behavioural changes. The conclusion is that warnings may be able to successfully replace educational brochures to produce behavioural changes.
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Keywords: Health education; Position adjustments; RSI; Warning design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Health Education and Promotion Universiteit Maastricht Maastricht The Netherlands 2: Department of Experimental Psychology Universiteit Maastricht Maastricht The Netherlands

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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