Reliability of questionnaire information measuring musculoskeletal symptoms and work histories

Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1998 Jan;59(1):20-4. doi: 10.1080/15428119891010299.


This study was designed to assess the test-retest reliability of a musculoskeletal symptom and work history (MSWH) questionnaire administered to 522 carpenters A 10% subgroup of carpenters completing the original interview was selected for the retest interview. The areas addressed included recall of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms, prior medical conditions, prior injuries, recall of work histories, and psychosocial items. The results show that for these sections of the MSWH questionnaire the observed agreements ranged from 75.5 to 97.0%, and the calculated kappa estimates ranged from 0.46 to 0.77. Injury to body regions, job specialty, and prior medical history had the highest kappa values of K = .70 or greater. Reliability of reporting frequency of job duties such as flooring and finishing was excellent, with kappa = 0.73 (95% confidence interval = 0.66, 0.80). Based on these results, the overall reliability of the MSWH questionnaire is very good.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / standards*
  • Job Description
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking / standards*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Wood