Trends in Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Comparison of Risk Factors for Symptoms Using Quality of Work Life Data From the 2002 and 2006 General Social Survey

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Objective:To assess trends in risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).Methods:Results from two similar national surveys (2002 and 2006) examined trends in relationships between individual, psychosocial, and physical factors and MSDs.Results:Findings between years were similar, but important differences included a stronger effect of “Work Stress” on “Pain in Arms,” and a stronger combined effect of “Hand Movement” and “Work Stress” on “Pain in Arms.” Also, two interactions were statistically significant in the 2006 data, but not in the 2002 data, revealing potentially increased risks. These were “Hand Movement” and “Work Stress” on “Back Pain,” and “Heavy Lifting” and “Work Stress” on “Pain in Arms.”Conclusion:New strategies for preventing both low back and upper extremity MSDs should focus on work stress, heavy lifting, and hand movement, individually and in combination.

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