Stress Reactions to Computer-Interactive Tasks as a Function of Task Structure and Individual Differences

Sara J. Czaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The resurgence of interest in occupational stress has resulted in an emphasis on identifying work conditions that are potentially causal in generating stress reactions and psychological disorders among workers. Although a considerable knowledge base related to this topic has evolved, relatively little is known regarding the impact of computer technology on incidence of job stress. This issue is especially important for older workers, given the increased use of computers in most occupations, the aging of the workforce, and the changes in cognitive and physiological capacities that occur with increased age. The study reported in this article was concerned with developing a methodology to evaluate stress for computer-interactive tasks as a function of the mental workload of the task and the age of the individual. Sixty-five women ranging in age from 25 to 70 years performed three com-puter-interactive tasks that varied as a function of information processing complexity and pacing requirements. The methodology encompassed physiological, subjective, and performance measures. Results indicated differences in sensitivity among the measures as a function of task and age. The data also indicated age differences in stress reactions and performance. The findings are discussed in terms of the suitability of computer tasks for older people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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