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.