Understanding the link between psychosocial work stressors and work-related musculoskeletal complaints

Appl Ergon. 2012 May;43(3):554-63. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2011.08.009. Epub 2011 Sep 23.


It is well established that psychosocial work stressors relate to employees' work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WRMSD) symptoms. Using a model investigating psychological strain as a mediator between work stressors and WRMSD complaints, this study demonstrated that high levels role conflict, low job control, and low safety-specific leadership are associated with increased employee strain. Strain, in turn, was related to higher levels of WRMSD symptoms of the wrist/hand, shoulders, and lower back. Partial mediation of some relationships was also found, suggesting that additional meditational mechanisms for the relationships between stressors and musculoskeletal symptoms are plausible. This work supports the notion that psychosocial stressors in the work environment have important links to employee health, especially WRMSDs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Low Back Pain / psychology
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / psychology*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workload
  • Young Adult