Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Blickensderfer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Albert Boquet, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sylvia Rohmer, Ph.D.


The researcher examined the effects of social support on stress reactivity following a moderate psychological stressor. The first independent variable (IV), social support, had two levels: alone (A) and pairs (P). The participants in the pairs level took part in the study with a friend. Participants in the alone level took part in the study by themselves. The second IV, period, had two levels: pre-stressor (Pre) and post-stressor (Post). Stress was induced with a mental arithmetic serial subtraction task and was measured by perceived mood state with the Perception of Mood States (POMS) and perceived muscle tension with the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ). The results showed a main effect of social support on perceived mood both pre and post stressor and a main effect period on perceived mood. Due to study limitations, it not possible to determine the extent to which social support buffers participants from stress reactivity; however, incorporating social support into stress management and musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention programs can enhance their efficacy.