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International variation in musculoskeletal sickness absence: findings from the CUPID study

International variation in musculoskeletal sickness absence: findings from the CUPID study
International variation in musculoskeletal sickness absence: findings from the CUPID study
OBJECTIVES: To quantify the variation in rates of absence due to musculoskeletal pain across 47 occupational groups (mostly nurses and office workers) from 18 countries, and to explore personal and group-level risk factors that might explain observed differences.

METHODS: A standardised questionnaire was used to obtain information about musculoskeletal pain, sickness absence and possible risk factors in a cross-sectional survey of 12 416 workers (92-1017 per occupational group). Additionally, group-level data on socioeconomic variables, such as sick pay and unemployment rates, were assembled by members of the study team in each country. Associations of sickness absence with risk factors were examined by Poisson regression.

RESULTS: Overall, there were more than 30-fold differences between occupational groups in the 12-month prevalence of prolonged musculoskeletal sickness absence, and even among office workers carrying out similar occupational tasks, the variation was more than tenfold. Personal risk factors included older age, lower educational level, tendency to somatise, physical loading at work and prolonged absence for non-musculoskeletal illness. However, these explained little of the variation between occupational groups. After adjustment for individual characteristics, prolonged musculoskeletal sickness absence was more frequent in groups with greater time pressure at work, lower job control and more adverse beliefs about the work-relatedness of musculoskeletal disorders.

CONCLUSIONS: Musculoskeletal sickness absence might be reduced by eliminating excessive time pressures in work, maximising employees' responsibility and control and providing flexibility of duties for those with disabling symptoms. Care should be taken not to overstate work as a cause of musculoskeletal injury.
1351-0711
575-584
Coggon, David
2b43ce0a-cc61-4d86-b15d-794208ffa5d3
Ntani, G.
9b009e0a-5ab2-4c6e-a9fd-15a601e92be5
Vergas-Prada, S.
87d141f5-cc27-40ed-9595-2e3cd34f6a91
Martinez, J.M.
3cf80c8c-3b5d-44d7-a2de-3bdbf4b5f7df
Serra, C.
70d5ef2e-7ab5-476a-89df-3367f8ffd7a6
Benavides, F.G.
890e3b86-03ac-4659-a0b6-4e8b5090e416
Palmer, K.T.
525f3d53-cc70-45d4-a3a0-242f6157ed66
Coggon, David
2b43ce0a-cc61-4d86-b15d-794208ffa5d3
Ntani, G.
9b009e0a-5ab2-4c6e-a9fd-15a601e92be5
Vergas-Prada, S.
87d141f5-cc27-40ed-9595-2e3cd34f6a91
Martinez, J.M.
3cf80c8c-3b5d-44d7-a2de-3bdbf4b5f7df
Serra, C.
70d5ef2e-7ab5-476a-89df-3367f8ffd7a6
Benavides, F.G.
890e3b86-03ac-4659-a0b6-4e8b5090e416
Palmer, K.T.
525f3d53-cc70-45d4-a3a0-242f6157ed66

Coggon, David, Ntani, G., Vergas-Prada, S., Martinez, J.M., Serra, C., Benavides, F.G. and Palmer, K.T. (2013) International variation in musculoskeletal sickness absence: findings from the CUPID study. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 70, 575-584. (doi:10.1136/oemed-2012-101316). (PMID:23695413)

Record type: Article

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To quantify the variation in rates of absence due to musculoskeletal pain across 47 occupational groups (mostly nurses and office workers) from 18 countries, and to explore personal and group-level risk factors that might explain observed differences.

METHODS: A standardised questionnaire was used to obtain information about musculoskeletal pain, sickness absence and possible risk factors in a cross-sectional survey of 12 416 workers (92-1017 per occupational group). Additionally, group-level data on socioeconomic variables, such as sick pay and unemployment rates, were assembled by members of the study team in each country. Associations of sickness absence with risk factors were examined by Poisson regression.

RESULTS: Overall, there were more than 30-fold differences between occupational groups in the 12-month prevalence of prolonged musculoskeletal sickness absence, and even among office workers carrying out similar occupational tasks, the variation was more than tenfold. Personal risk factors included older age, lower educational level, tendency to somatise, physical loading at work and prolonged absence for non-musculoskeletal illness. However, these explained little of the variation between occupational groups. After adjustment for individual characteristics, prolonged musculoskeletal sickness absence was more frequent in groups with greater time pressure at work, lower job control and more adverse beliefs about the work-relatedness of musculoskeletal disorders.

CONCLUSIONS: Musculoskeletal sickness absence might be reduced by eliminating excessive time pressures in work, maximising employees' responsibility and control and providing flexibility of duties for those with disabling symptoms. Care should be taken not to overstate work as a cause of musculoskeletal injury.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 21 May 2013
Organisations: Human Development & Health

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Local EPrints ID: 353234
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/353234
ISSN: 1351-0711
PURE UUID: 5106a3f5-bb44-433c-95f0-03f1d4d72f61
ORCID for David Coggon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1930-3987

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Date deposited: 03 Jun 2013 13:28
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 01:41

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Contributors

Author: David Coggon ORCID iD
Author: G. Ntani
Author: S. Vergas-Prada
Author: J.M. Martinez
Author: C. Serra
Author: F.G. Benavides
Author: K.T. Palmer

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