Study finds link between MSDs, work-family conflict among health care workers

October 3, 2012

Washington – Hospital workers with high levels of work-family conflict are more likely to experience neck pain and other types of musculoskeletal pain, according to a study from George Washington University.

Researchers surveyed 1,119 Boston hospital workers who provide direct patient care about whether their jobs impacted their ability to keep family commitments and if they had experienced musculoskeletal pain in the past three months, a GWU press release stated.

Workers with high levels of conflict between work and home obligations were more than twice as likely to have musculoskeletal pain. Additionally, workers reporting the most conflict had almost 3 times the risk of arm pain, the release stated.

No link was found between work-family imbalance and lower back pain, and researchers speculated the latter may be caused by lifting patients.

Researchers suggested that hospital policies to reduce the work-family “juggling act” might lead to less pain among workers and more productivity.

The study was published online Sept. 27 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.