In the development of symptoms and illnesses, physical stress plays a crucial role besides many other factors such as age, physical condition, gender, genetic predisposition, psychosocial situation, etc. A lot of aspects of the cause-effect relationships are still unknown. Only an integrated approach that includes epidemiological studies as well as field and laboratory research ultimately may help to clarify these issues.
Epidemiological studies are currently based mostly on surveys of subjective assessments by questionnaires and interviews, which are only occasionally supplemented by objective measurements. Subjective assessments of stress and strain are often not adequately reflected in objective measurements. It is necessary to clarify which data have the greatest statistical relationship to morbidity. One can assume that both subjective and objective survey data information will allow a substantial explanation depending on the kind of complaints and illness. The extent to which the hypotheses about cause-effect-relationships during physical stress are confirmed, and therefore confirm or refute the statistical relationship to morbidity, should be tested on the basis of epidemiological studies and laboratory experiments.
As a part of the research project, designs for the acquisition of valid and objective data to capture physical stresses and strains in the field will be developed and applied together with extensive epidemiological studies. The focus will be on musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, a unified, practically manageable and valid assessment methodology for estimating the risk from physical stress and strain based on models will be developed.
Unit 3.1 "Prevention of Work-related Diseases"