Functional disability due to back pain. A population-based study indicating the importance of socioeconomic factors

Arthritis Rheum. 1987 Nov;30(11):1247-53. doi: 10.1002/art.1780301107.


Using national survey data, we examined correlates of disability due to low back pain in 1,516 persons who had back pain. Greater education level correlated significantly (P less than 0.001) with fewer disability days (i.e., days of activity limitation, absence from work, confinement to bed, or reduced housework), even after controlling for severity, sciatica, occupation, and age. Findings in men differed from those in women; education level was a strong correlate for men only. For work absenteeism, low income was a stronger correlate than education. These data support the importance of social factors in the prognosis of some musculoskeletal diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sciatica / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States