OBJECTIVE--Type A behaviour pattern, characterised by excessive competitiveness, impatience, hostility and time urgency, has been previously investigated as a risk factor for coronary heart disease. There are few studies concerning musculoskeletal symptoms and type A behaviour. Could there be a higher frequency of musculoskeletal symptoms with a more pronounced type A behaviour? DESIGN--A cross sectional retrospective study. Standardised nordic questionnaires were used for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms and the Bortner questionnaire and its subscales (1) speed and (2) hard driving and competitiveness were used to assess type A behaviour. SETTING--Factory based (a manufacturing industry where they make ventilating shafts). SUBJECTS--58 blue collar workers (51 men and seven women). Mean age was 36.9 years. Mean employment time was seven years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Blue collar workers with musculoskeletal symptoms had a more pronounced type A behaviour than those without symptoms. RESULTS--For shoulder symptoms during the past 12 months blue collar workers had a more pronounced type A behaviour (p < 0.001). For symptoms during the past seven days the results were significant for the neck (p < 0.01), the shoulder (p < 0.01), and also for lower back pain (p < 0.05). There were no differences in age, psychosocial factors, or psychosomatic symptoms. According to the Bortner subscales, the speed subscale seems to be more important than the hard driving and competitiveness subscales. CONCLUSIONS--Blue collar workers with a more pronounced type A behaviour seem to have a higher incidence of musculoskeletal symptoms.