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Work ability and Ergonomics

Health-promoting work and surrounding environmentThe core of research is clinical studies and epidemiology with major themes of work ability, musculoskeletal and mental health. In the group there are two professors and six PhDs. Recent published research concerns how change in exposure (demands at work and at home) predicts change in work ability.

Furthermore, the influence of information technology on future mental health has been evaluated among young adults and is likely to be relevant to older age strata as well. An experimental clinical study on delayed pain exacerbations in chronic pain patients is part of new methods to evaluate work ability.

The research group is coordinator for the Swedish Work Ability index network. The instrument Work Role Function Questionnaire (WRFQ) has been cross-cultural adapted and tested for Sweden – the research group is the Swedish centre for the instrument.

Methods for quick assessment of work demands have been developed as an important part of work ability evaluation.

Qualitative methods (e.g. analyses of open-ended interviews and focus group data informed by grounded theory) are used to address research hypotheses in addition to quantitative epidemiologic and laboratory research methods. In terms of the latter, the research group has a laboratory for measuring physical and mental capacity.

Current research

Work ability & sustainable work life

Ahlstrom, L., L. Dellve, M. Hagberg and K. Ahlberg (2017). "Women with Neck Pain on Long-Term Sick Leave-Approaches Used in the Return to Work Process: A Qualitative Study." J Occup Rehabil 27(1): 92-105.

Boschman, J. S., A. Noor, J. K. Sluiter and M. Hagberg (2017). "The mediating role of recovery opportunities on future sickness absence from a gender- and age-sensitive perspective." PLoS One 12(7): e0179657.

Boschman, J. S., A. Noor, R. Lundstrom, T. Nilsson, J. K. Sluiter and M. Hagberg (2017). "Relationships between work-related factors and musculoskeletal health with current and future work ability among male workers." Int Arch Occup Environ Health 90(6): 517-526.

Bostrom, M., J. K. Sluiter, M. Hagberg and A. Grimby-Ekman (2016). "Opportunities for recovery at work and excellent work ability - a cross-sectional population study among young workers." BMC Public Health 16: 985.

Gerhardsson, L. and M. Hagberg (2014). "Work ability in vibration-exposed workers." Occup Med (Lond) 64(8): 629-634.

Wentz K.A. H., Gyllensten K. (2016) Career crafting: Working between the ages of 69 and 75 ISSN 2155-7950. years. Journal of Business and Economics. 7 (8), 1334-1345. DOI: 10.15341/jbe(2155-7950)/08.07.2016/014

Gyllensten, K., Wentz, K., Håkansson, C., Hagberg, M., & Nilsson, K. (2018). Older assistant nurses’ motivation for a full or extended working life. Ageing and Society, 1-15. doi:10.1017/S0144686X180007402018:

Thomée, Sara & Jakobsson, Kristina: Life-changing or trivial: Electricians’ views about electrical accidents. Work, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 573-585, 2018 DOI: 10.3233/WOR-182765

Hanvold TN, Kines P, Nykänen M, Ólafsdóttir S, Thomée S, Holte KA, Vuori J, Wærsted M and Veiersted KB (2016). Young workers and sustainable work life. Special emphasis on Nordic conditions. TemaNord 2016:512. Nordic Council of Ministers

Hand-arm vibration

Edlund, M., L. Burstrom, L. Gerhardsson, R. Lundstrom, T. Nilsson, H. Sanden and M. Hagberg (2014). "A prospective cohort study investigating an exposure-response relationship among vibration-exposed male workers with numbness of the hands." Scand J Work Environ Health 40(2): 203-209.

Lundstrom, R., H. Dahlqvist, M. Hagberg and T. Nilsson (2018). "Vibrotactile and thermal perception and its relation to finger skin thickness." Clin Neurophysiol Pract 3: 33-39.

Oliv, S., A. Noor, E. Gustafsson and M. Hagberg (2017). "A Lower Level of Physically Demanding Work Is Associated with Excellent Work Ability in Men and Women with Neck Pain in Different Age Groups." Saf Health Work 8(4): 356-363.

Violante, F. S., R. Bonfiglioli, M. Hagberg and D. Rempel (2014). "Carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis in occupational epidemiological studies." Occup Environ Med 71(8): 591.

Gerhardsson L, Hagberg M. Test-retest reliability of neurophysiological tests of hand-arm vibration syndrome in vibration exposed workers and unexposed referents. J Occup Med Toxicol 2014;9:38

Lundström R, Noor BA, Hagberg M, Nilsson T, Gerhardsson L. Long-term effect of hand-arm vibration on thermotactile perception thresholds. J Occup Med Toxicol 2018 Jun 22; 13:19

Jonsson P Kuklane K Balogh I. (2016) Anti-vibration gloves – in theory and practice. Arbete och Hälsa; 2016;49(5)

Digital environment (computers, mobile phones, pads)
Gustafsson, E., S. Thomee, A. Grimby-Ekman and M. Hagberg (2017). "Texting on mobile phones and musculoskeletal disorders in young adults: A five-year cohort study." Appl Ergon 58: 208-214.

Gustafsson, E., P. Coenen, A. Campbell and L. Straker (2018). “Texting with touchscreen and keypad phones-A comparison of thumb kinematics, upper limb muscle activity, exertion, discomfort, and performance.” Appl Ergon 2018:70:232-9.

Sara Thomée, Lauren Lissner, Mats Hagberg and Anna Grimby-Ekman: Leisure time computer use and overweight development in young adults – a prospective study. BMC Public Health 2015 15:839

Pain & fibromyalgia

Grimby-Ekman, A., M. Aberg, K. Toren, J. Brisman, M. Hagberg and J. L. Kim (2018). "Pain could negatively affect school grades - Swedish middle school students with low school grades most affected." PLoS One 13(12): e0208435.

Grimby-Ekman A, Ghafouri B, Sanden H, Larsson B, Gerdle B: Different DHEA-S Levels and Response Patterns in Individuals with Chronic Neck Pain, Compared with a Pain Free Group-a Pilot Study. Pain Med 2016.

Lange E., Mannerkorpi K., Cider Å., Archer, T. & Wentz, K A. H. (2017) Physiological Adaptation in Women Presenting Fibromyalgia: Comparison with Healthy Controls Journal of Clinical and Experimental Psychology, 3:1. DOI: 10.4172/2471-2701.1000147

Wentz K. A. H., Archer T. (2017) Fibromyalgia as a Variant of High-performing PTSD: Negative affect, Emotional integrity counter play and functional impairment. Journal of Neuropsychology & Stress Management Open Access 2:1-9.


Visiting address:
Medicinaregatan 16A

Phone: +46(0)31-786 31 23

Send us an e-mail!


Research group coordinator

Anna Grimby-Ekman
Assoc prof, Statistician, Postgraduate student

Överst från vänster: Lars Gerhardsson, Julitta Boschman, Ann-Sofie Liljenskog Hill, Maria Boström, Sara Thomée, Ewa Gustavsson, Christina Ahlstrand, Anna Ekman, Kerstin Wentz, Kristina Gyllensten, Adnan Noor, Mats Hagberg, Stefan Oliv, Per Mg. Jonsson





Research group members

Adnan Noor, Statistician
Ann-Sofie Liljenskog Hill, Secretary
Christina Ahlstrand, BSc Biomedical Scientist
Ewa Gustafsson, PT, PhD, ergonomist
Helena Sandén, PhD, MD
Kerstin Wentz, PhD, Psychologist
Kristina Gyllensten, PhD, Psychologist
Lars Gerhardsson, MD, PhD
Sara Thomée, PhD, Psychologist
Stefan Oliv, Ergonomist
Mats Hagberg, MD, PhD, professor

Page Manager: Cecilia Andreasson|Last update: 2/18/2019

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