Work stress and incidence of newly diagnosed fibromyalgia: prospective cohort study

J Psychosom Res. 2004 Nov;57(5):417-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2003.10.013.


Objectives: We examined the prospective association between occupational stress and incidence of newly diagnosed fibromyalgia.

Methods: Cohort study with questionnaire surveys in 1998 and 2000 completed by 4791 hospital employees (4250 women and 541 men). Stress, as indicated by high workload, low decision latitude, and being a victim of workplace bullying, was assessed in the first survey. Incident cases (n=47) were employees reporting physician-diagnosed fibromyalgia in 2000 but not in 1998. Covariates were sex, age, income, obesity, and smoking.

Results: After adjustment for covariates, the odds ratio of incident diagnosed fibromyalgia for workplace bullying was 4.1 (95% CI 2.0-9.6). The corresponding odds ratios for high workload and low decision latitude were 2.1 (1.2-3.9) and 2.1 (1.1-4.0), respectively.

Conclusion: Stress seems to be a contributing factor in the development of fibromyalgia, but further research is needed to examine whether stress perceptions are affected by undiagnosed fibromyalgia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / etiology
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Job Description*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personnel, Hospital
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Workload
  • Workplace*