Occupational Therapy Program Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type



Effectiveness of an ergonomic program for cosmetologists

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.


College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

First Advisor

Max Ito

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


July 2010.

"Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Allied Health and Nursing, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida"

Objective. The following research questions were posed: (1) Does participatory ergonomic education and programming influence occupational performance among cosmetologists? (2) Does ergonomic education and programming influence quality of life among cosmetologists? (3) Does ergonomic education and programming influence pain among cosmetologists? (4) Does ergonomic education and programming influence numbness and tingling in the upper extremities of cosmetologists? The purpose of this study was to: (1) implement a participatory ergonomic program for cosmetologists and (2) to examine the effectiveness of the implemented program in decreasing signs and symptoms associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Method. A multiple baseline, single subject design was used. Data were collected from seven subjects for a total of 12 weeks. The intervention was introduced to subjects at different times throughout the study and consisted of general ergonomic education, a participatory ergonomic interview session, and basic range of motion stretches. Outcome measures included the QuickDASH, a 10-point pain scale, and a 10-point numbness and tingling scale. Data were analyzed using visual analysis techniques including the two-standard deviation band method and the binomial test method. Data trends were assessed to further support the results.

Results. The results of this study indicate that ergonomic programming improved occupational performance, improved quality of life, decreased upper extremity pain, and decreased upper extremity numbness and tingling for several of the participants. The results of this study also produced statistically significant changes in QuickDASH scores indicating improved quality of life and improved occupational performance. Statistically significant change in pain scores and numbness/tingling scores indicated that several participants experienced decreased pain, numbness, and tingling in the upper extremity.

Conclusion. The results of this study support the assumption that cosmetologists experience symptoms consistent with work-related musculoskeletal disorders and respond to participatory ergonomic programming similar to other working groups. The results of this study support the main principles of the participatory ergonomic approach which focus on involvement of the worker. The participatory ergonomic approach used in this study aligns with the client-centered principles found in the practice of occupational therapy and therefore provides evidence of effective occupational therapy intervention.


Occupational Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Cosmetologists, Dash, Ergonomic program, Musculoskeletal disorders, Participatory ergonomics, Single subjects

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