Musculoskeletal-Related Disability in US Army Personnel: Prevalence, Gender, and Military Occupational Specialties

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Research on military populations indicates that musculoskeletal-related disorders represent a prevalent source of outpatient visits, lost work time, hospitalization, and disability. Despite the increasing role of women in the military, little is known regarding the association among military occupations, gender, and disability. The study presented here analyzed 41,750 disability cases to determine: (1) prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disability, (2) specific jobs associated with greater risk of musculoskeletal disability, and (3) association among gender, job-type, and disability. Results indicate: (1) back-related disorders represent the most prevalent sources of disability, (2) certain occupations were associated with higher disability risk, (3) women experienced higher overall, and musculoskeletal, disability risk, and (4) specific jobs were identified in which women experienced higher rates of musculoskeletal disability. These findings highlight the need to consider the interaction between workplace factors and gender on disability in the military work force.

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