Work-family conflict poses risk for musculoskeletal pain

Intense work-family conflict can put health care workers at a greater risk for neck and other types of musculoskeletal pain, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services analyzed a cross-sectional survey of 1,119 hospital patient care workers. Work-family conflict was measured by a 5-item Work-Family Conflict Scale questionnaire. Participants were also asked about musculoskeletal pain within the past 3 months. The researchers also considered factors that might affect the outcome of the study, such as the amount of on-the-job lifting or pulling that could strain muscles and lead to pain.

Nurses and other employees who reported high conflict between their job duties and obligations at home had a two times greater chance of having neck or shoulder pain, according to the study. Workers with the highest work-life imbalance had nearly a three times greater risk of reporting arm pain during the period and a two times greater chance of experiencing any kind of musculoskeletal pain among workers who reported a lot of conflict, according to study results. However, there was no lasting link between this kind of ongoing conflict and lower back pain, which might be caused when hospital workers left heavy patients on a regular basis.

“Work-family conflict can be distracting and stressful for hospital employees,” Seung-SupKim, ScD, a professional lecturer in environmental and occupational health at George Washington University, said. “Hospitals that adopt policies to reduce the juggling act might gain a host of benefits including a more productive workforce, one that is not slowed down by chronic aches and pains.”

For more information:

Kim SS, Okechukwu CA, Buxton OM. Association between work-family conflict and musculoskeletal pain among hospital patient care workers. Am J Ind Med. Sept. 27, 2012.

Disclosures: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.