Emotion work and musculoskeletal pain in supermarket cashiers: a test of a sleep-mediation model

Kottwitz, Maria U.; Rolli Salathé, Cornelia; Buser, Carina; Elfering, Achim (2017). Emotion work and musculoskeletal pain in supermarket cashiers: a test of a sleep-mediation model. Scandinavian journal of work and organizational psychology, 2(1), p. 6. Stockholm University Press 10.16993/sjwop.25

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Repetitive movement and a lack of postural change are known risk factors for musculoskeletal pain in cashiers. This study tests emotional dissonance – the demand to keep being polite to impolite customers – as an additional risk factor. Furthermore, sleep problems are expected to mediate the link between emotion work and musculoskeletal pain. Data contains 103 female supermarket cashiers from three supermarkets of a large retailer responded to a questionnaire (participation rate 60.6%). An open question asked for the most negative job facets in daily work. Standardized questionnaire were used to assess emotional dissonance, sleep problems and musculoskeletal pain. Responses to the open question showed experience of unkind customers as the most prevalent negative experience at work reported by 47.6% of cashiers, followed by prolonged sitting (8.7%). Emotional dissonance was a significant predictor of neck and back pain when BMI, age, part-time work, and change of hand function during their shift (work rotation) were controlled (β = .30, p < .01). Moreover, sleep problems were confirmed as a mediator with respect to neck and back pain (B = .21, SE = .10, CI = 02–.22). No mediation was found in prediction of pain in arms and shoulders or hips, legs, and feet. Emotional dissonance in work of cashiers appeared as a unique risk factor of neck and back pain. Work design should pay more attention to the social demands of cashier work.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Kottwitz, Maria Undine, Rolli Salathé, Cornelia, Elfering, Achim


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Stockholm University Press




Christine Soltermann

Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2018 09:04

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:30

Publisher DOI:






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