Association between work–family conflict and musculoskeletal pain among hospital patient care workers

Authors

  • Seung-Sup Kim ScD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, District of Columbia
    • Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, 2300 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.
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  • Cassandra A. Okechukwu ScD,

    1. Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Orfeu M. Buxton PhD,

    1. Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Jack T. Dennerlein PhD,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Leslie I. Boden PhD,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Dean M. Hashimoto MD,

    1. Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    4. Occupational Health Services, Partners HealthCare System, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Glorian Sorensen PhD

    1. Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Center for Community-Based Research, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Disclosure Statement: Dr. Hashimoto is employed by Partners HealthCare System, and the two studied hospitals are Partners hospitals. There are no other possible conflicts of interest to report.

Abstract

Background

A growing body of evidence suggests that work–family conflict is an important risk factor for workers' health and well-being. The goal of this study is to examine association between work–family conflict and musculoskeletal pain among hospital patient care workers.

Methods

We analyzed a cross-sectional survey of 1,119 hospital patient care workers in 105 units in two urban, academic hospitals. Work–family conflict was measured by 5-item Work–Family Conflict Scale questionnaire. Multilevel logistic regression was applied to examine associations between work–family conflict and self-reported musculoskeletal pain in the past 3 months, adjusting for covariates including work-related psychosocial factors and physical work factors.

Results

In fully adjusted models, high work–family conflict was strongly associated with neck or shoulder pain (OR: 2.34, 95% CI: 1.64–3.34), arm pain (OR: 2.79, 95% CI: 1.64–4.75), lower extremity pain (OR: 2.20, 95% CI: 1.54–3.15) and any musculoskeletal pain (OR: 2.45, 95% CI: 1.56–3.85), and a number of body areas in pain (OR: 2.47, 95% CI: 1.82–3.36) in the past 3 months. The association with low back pain was attenuated and became non-significant after adjusting for covariates.

Conclusions

Given the consistent associations between work–family conflict and self-reported musculoskeletal pains, the results suggest that work–family conflict could be an important domain for health promotion and workplace policy development among hospital patient care workers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:488–495, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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