[Experimental] List of manuscripts available for review volunteers
1 manuscript available for review volunteers
November 9, 2017

Background. Work related accidents are common and may lead to permanent physical disability or death. Besides specific injury related challenges these workers face numerous socioeconomic stresses. These stresses are associated with cortical reorganization that may result in cognitive problems. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the stress level and attention in adults with work related physical disabilities.

Methods. Morning salivary cortisol was used as a stress marker while the event-related potential during the performance of the auditory oddball paradigm was conducted to investigate the attentive ability to sound stimuli. Eighteen injured workers (IW) and ten unaffected healthy workers (CW) were recruited for this study with half being men and the other half women (aged 21 to 55). Behavioral performance measures including reaction time (RT), accuracy rate, and commission error as well as the latency and amplitude of P300 wave over the central (Cz), centroparietal (CPz), and parietal (Pz) electrode sites were used to compare the two groups.

Results. This study demonstrated significantly higher salivary cortisol levels, longer RT, less accuracy to respond to the target during the auditory oddball paradigm in the IW group as compared to CW group. In addition, a significant prolongation of the peak latency of auditory P300 wave over Cz, CPz, and Pz electrodes was also detected in IW group.

Discussion. The increased cortisol levels found in the IW group reflect the alteration of the basal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as a result of the stresses of living with a physical disability. Delayed RT and the decreased in accuracy together with changing in peak latencies of auditory P300 wave indicate the impairment of attention networks in IW.

Conclusion. Our study revealed that the workers with permanent physical disabilities exhibit the higher level of stress and attention deficits as compared to their uninjuried peers.

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