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Is musculoskeletal pain a consequence or a cause of occupational stress? A longitudinal study

Is musculoskeletal pain a consequence or a cause of occupational stress? A longitudinal study
Is musculoskeletal pain a consequence or a cause of occupational stress? A longitudinal study
Objectives: longitudinal studies have linked stress at work with a higher incidence of musculoskeletal pain. We aimed to explore the extent to which musculoskeletal pain is a cause as opposed to a consequence of perceived occupational stress.

Methods: as part of the international cultural and psychosocial influences on disability study, we collected information from 305 Italian nurses, at baseline and again after 12 months, about pain during the past month in the low-back and neck/shoulder, and about effort–reward imbalance (ERI) (assessed by Siegrist’s ERI questionnaire). Poisson regression was used to assess the RR of ERI >1 at follow-up according to the report of pain and of ERI >1 at baseline.

Results: among nurses with ERI ?1 at baseline, ERI >1 at follow-up was associated with baseline report of pain in the low-back (RR 2.7, 95 % CI 1.4–5.0) and neck/shoulder (RR 2.6, 95 % CI 1.3–5.1). However, there was no corresponding association with persistence of ERI in nurses who already had ERI >1 at baseline. Associations of ERI at baseline with pain at follow-up were weak.

Conclusion: our results suggest that the well-documented association between job stress and musculoskeletal pain is not explained entirely by an effect of stress on reporting of pain. It appears also that workers who report musculoskeletal pain are more likely to develop subsequent perceptions of stress. This may be because pain renders people less tolerant of the psychological demands of work. Another possibility is that reports of pain and stress are both manifestations of a general tendency to be aware of and complain about symptoms and difficulties
0340-0131
607-612
Bonzini, M.
0cd0ca2c-a67c-4ec4-95ee-7c93060d47a1
Bertu', L.
af215550-4482-4a9d-b540-ecc60a9eb9f7
Veronesi, G.
715988e8-0603-4098-832b-e04ff051c1b5
Conti, M.
f0672c28-bc00-4f8a-9baf-3dc948b633b9
Coggon, D.
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Ferrario, M.M.
172bd9f8-366f-4d68-8e43-9580998c4911
Bonzini, M.
0cd0ca2c-a67c-4ec4-95ee-7c93060d47a1
Bertu', L.
af215550-4482-4a9d-b540-ecc60a9eb9f7
Veronesi, G.
715988e8-0603-4098-832b-e04ff051c1b5
Conti, M.
f0672c28-bc00-4f8a-9baf-3dc948b633b9
Coggon, D.
2b43ce0a-cc61-4d86-b15d-794208ffa5d3
Ferrario, M.M.
172bd9f8-366f-4d68-8e43-9580998c4911

Bonzini, M., Bertu', L., Veronesi, G., Conti, M., Coggon, D. and Ferrario, M.M. (2015) Is musculoskeletal pain a consequence or a cause of occupational stress? A longitudinal study. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 88 (5), 607-612. (doi:10.1007/s00420-014-0982-1). (PMID:25261316)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives: longitudinal studies have linked stress at work with a higher incidence of musculoskeletal pain. We aimed to explore the extent to which musculoskeletal pain is a cause as opposed to a consequence of perceived occupational stress.

Methods: as part of the international cultural and psychosocial influences on disability study, we collected information from 305 Italian nurses, at baseline and again after 12 months, about pain during the past month in the low-back and neck/shoulder, and about effort–reward imbalance (ERI) (assessed by Siegrist’s ERI questionnaire). Poisson regression was used to assess the RR of ERI >1 at follow-up according to the report of pain and of ERI >1 at baseline.

Results: among nurses with ERI ?1 at baseline, ERI >1 at follow-up was associated with baseline report of pain in the low-back (RR 2.7, 95 % CI 1.4–5.0) and neck/shoulder (RR 2.6, 95 % CI 1.3–5.1). However, there was no corresponding association with persistence of ERI in nurses who already had ERI >1 at baseline. Associations of ERI at baseline with pain at follow-up were weak.

Conclusion: our results suggest that the well-documented association between job stress and musculoskeletal pain is not explained entirely by an effect of stress on reporting of pain. It appears also that workers who report musculoskeletal pain are more likely to develop subsequent perceptions of stress. This may be because pain renders people less tolerant of the psychological demands of work. Another possibility is that reports of pain and stress are both manifestations of a general tendency to be aware of and complain about symptoms and difficulties

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Accepted/In Press date: 14 September 2014
e-pub ahead of print date: 27 September 2014
Published date: July 2015
Organisations: MRC Life-Course Epidemiology Unit

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 379846
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/379846
ISSN: 0340-0131
PURE UUID: 28d06929-f1dc-4512-b663-22e799e44635
ORCID for D. Coggon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1930-3987

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Date deposited: 07 Aug 2015 12:32
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 01:54

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Contributors

Author: M. Bonzini
Author: L. Bertu'
Author: G. Veronesi
Author: M. Conti
Author: D. Coggon ORCID iD
Author: M.M. Ferrario

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