Psychosocial job factors associated with back and neck pain in public transit operators

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1997 Jun;23(3):179-86. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.196.


Objectives: This cross-sectional study examined associations between psychosocial job factors and the prevalence of nondisabling back and neck pain in professional drivers after physical work load was taken into account.

Methods: A total of 1449 transit vehicle operators completed a medical examination and a questionnaire yielding information on demographic and anthropometric variables, health status, and physical and psychosocial job factors. Company records were used to supplement information on employment history. Physical work load was measured in life-time years and current weekly hours of professional driving. The relation of psychosocial factors with back or neck pain was analyzed by logistic regression models adjusted for past and current physical work load, vehicle type, age, gender, body height, and weight.

Results: The main result of this study was that both physical work load and psychosocial factors were simultaneously and independently associated with back or neck pain. Psychosocial factors associated with back or neck pain included extended uninterrupted driving driving periods, frequency of job problems, high psychosocial demands, high job dissatisfaction, and low supervisory support. An analysis of specific job problems is provided which may be useful in setting priorities for research and intervention efforts in this high risk occupation.

Conclusion: The results provide support for the role of psychosocial job characteristics in the etiology of back or neck pain in occupational settings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Automobile Driving* / psychology
  • Automobile Driving* / statistics & numerical data
  • Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • San Francisco / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Transportation* / statistics & numerical data
  • Work Schedule Tolerance
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data