A life-long prospective study on the role of psychosocial factors in neck-shoulder and low-back pain

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1991 Sep;16(9):1056-61. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199109000-00008.


The predictive value of psychosocial factors in the development of neck--shoulder and low-back symptoms was investigated in a life-long follow-up study of 154 subjects. Measurements taken in adolescence, such as intelligence, alexithymia (low verbal productivity in projective personality tests), social confidence, hobbies, and the socioeconomic status of the family, showed no consistent associations with neck--shoulder or low-back symptoms in adulthood. Of the variables recorded in adulthood, weak mental resources for promoting health (poor sense of coherence) were consistently associated with neck--shoulder pain, whereas low fundamental education predicted low-back symptoms. The results suggest that psychosocial factors in childhood have a minor role as direct predictors of later symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Back Pain / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neck*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Shoulder*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*