Risk factors in the psychosocial work environment for neck and shoulder pain in secretaries

J Occup Med. 1989 Jul;31(7):609-13. doi: 10.1097/00043764-198907000-00012.


The relationship between psychologic work variables and reported neck and shoulder pain was examined among secretaries. A battery of questionnaires concerning the experienced psychologic work environment as well as musculoskeletal pain symptoms was completed by 420 secretaries at a large medical center. A relatively "poor" psychologic work environment was compared with an environment that was experienced as "good." A "poorly" experienced psychologic work environment was related to a higher frequency of neck and shoulder pain. The relative risk for frequent neck pain was 2.85 (95% confidence interval 1.28 to 6.32) and for frequent shoulder pain 3.32 (95% confidence interval 1.53 to 7.23). Furthermore, the subindexes of work content and social support at work were found to be related to pain, whereas no clear relationship was found for work demands. The results of this study demonstrate the possible importance of the psychologic work environment in the development of musculoskeletal pain disorders. Future investigations should replicate these findings as well as isolate specific mechanisms so that preventive measures may be instituted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Secretaries / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*
  • Sweden