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Table 2 Exposure variables (questionnaire) including questions on exposure, answers/options and how the analysis was performed

From: Neck and upper extremity pain in sonographers – a longitudinal study

ItemQuestion on exposureAnswers/optionsFor analysis
Personal CharacteristicsAge Trichotomized: 23–37; 38–53; 54–66 years
 Height Trichotomized: 153–163; 164–174; 175–185 cm
 Weight Trichotomized: 45–65, 66–86, 87–107 kg
   BMI dichotomized: 17.8–24.9; 25–29.9 kg/m2
Personal CharacteristicsHours/day of personal recovery time [10]Hardly any time at all; < 1 h/day; 1 h/day; 2 h/day; 3 h/day; ≥4 h/day.Dichotomized: ≤2; ≥3 h/day
Personal CharacteristicsFrequency of physical exercise [10]Never; Occasionally; Once a week, twice to four times/week; five times/week or moreDichotomized ≤ once; ≥ twice a week
Personal CharacteristicsHours of household work [10]0–2; 3–10; 11–20; 21–30; ≥ 31 h/weekDichotomized: ≤ 10; ≥ 11 h/week
Working conditionsYears as a professional sonographer [8] Dichotomized at the median ≤ 13 years; > 13 years
Working conditionsHours of work/week? [8]
Hours of sonography/week? [8]
 Hours/week was dichotomized as part-time (< 37 h/week) or full-time work (≥ 37 h/week)
Sonography/week was dichotomized at the median ≤ 18 h/week; > 18 h/week
As these were highly correlated competition was performed including both variables in the same model, and only the factor giving the lowest p-value was included in the main analyses (working hours/week for the neck/shoulders and sonography hours/week for the elbows/hands)
EchocardiographyDo you perform echocardiography?Yes/noDichotomized
Ergonomic conditions during examinations with the ultrasound devicePossibility to adjust
a) screen height
b) screen tilt),
c) the keyboard,
d) the chair
e) table for examinations [8]
Yes/no to allWhen positive answer to all items we considered that ergonomic adjustments were possible
Ergonomic conditions during computer workSatisfaction with the computer work station arrangements? [8]Very satisfied (can work comfortably); Rather satisfied; Neither satisfied or dissatisfied; Rather dissatisfied; Very dissatisfied (uncomfortable/strenuous work)Trichotomized: very/rather satisfied; neutral; rather/very dissatisfied
Ergonomic conditionsPerforming examinations in the ward on in-patients (bedside examinations)? [8]Never; Seldom; Sometimes; DailyDichotomized: Never/seldom; sometimes/daily
Visual conditionsa. Eyestrain related to computer work? [8]
b. Headache related to computer work? [8]
c. Eyesight adequately corrected? [8]
a and b) Never; Seldom; Sometimes; Often; Very often.
c) Good/adequately corrected; Inadequately corrected
Good visual conditions were considered present if the person had no headaches or eye complaints related to sonography examinations or computer work and sufficiently corrected eyesight
Physical workload11 items regarding awkward work postures, Mechanical exposure Index (MEI) [11, 12]Each item answered on a three-point scale Almost not at all; Some; A lotThe total score was calculated for each individual (range 11–33). MEI (sum score) was dichotomized at unexposed/low (≤15) and medium/high exposure (> 15)
Psychosocial conditionsThe Job Content Questionnaire was used regarding job demands (nine items), job control (nine items), job support (eight items) [13, 14]Each item answered on a four-point scale indicating the degree of agreement. Higher values on the scale indicate higher demands, better control and better support.The mean value in each dimension was calculated for each individual. Each dimension was dichotomized at low/high based on the median value.
Psychosocial conditionsOne dimension of The Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire: sensory demands (five items) [15]Each item was answered on a five-point scale. Higher values indicated higher demands.The mean value in each dimension was calculated for each individual. The dimension was dichotomized at low/high based on the median value.