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Psychosocial risk exposures and musculoskeletal disorders across working-age males and females

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-04-11, 11:01 authored by John D. Collins, Leonard O'SullivanLeonard O'Sullivan
In 2008, The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) reported that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) were the most common work-related health problem in Europe. Females are considered more susceptible to MSDs than are males, and older workers are more vulnerable than are younger workers. Factors specific to the job, work organization, and individual have been implicated as potential risk factors, with current interest focusing on psychosocial risk factors and the pathology of disorders. Although there is some disagreement in the literature, there is growing support that, after controlling for exposure, females have a predisposition to MSDs. More is known of the role of psychosocial risks inMSD etiology, but it is unclear if there are differences in exposures across gender and age and if this has a resultant effect on injury rates. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of MSDs and trends with psychosocial risks, across age and gender. The study group consisted of 200 female and 132 male employees from varied occupations within Ireland, ranging from age 18–66 years. The most prevalent symptoms of MSDs were for the lower back, shoulder, and neck regions. Age and gender differences in prevalence were evident for these regions. There was a general trend for increasing prevalence with age. For the psychosocial risks, significant differences in job content exposures were observed across age groups for males (p< 0.05) and females (p< 0.0005). There were also differences in scores across the age groups for mental health (p< 0.0005) and insecurity at work (p< 0.0005) for the females. The conclusions are that there were not sufficiently strong differences in exposures to relevant psychosocial risks both between genders and across age for a resultant effect on MSDs. © 2010Wiley Periodicals, Inc


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Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing and Service Industries;20 (4), pp. 272-286


Wiley and Sons



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This is the peer reviewed author post print version of the following article: Psychosocial risk exposures and musculoskeletal disorders across working-age males and females, Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing and Service Industries, 2010, 20 (4), pp. 272-286, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.



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