Objective Occupational stress (OS) has been associated with musculoskeletal disorders (MSKD) and related sickness absences, but the prevalence of MSKD deeply varies across countries and cultural/social variables and could influence their relationship with OS.
As part of the CUPID international study, we compared OS and MSKD in two groups of nursing personnel from Italian andBrazilianUniversityhospitals, countries characterised by different social background and economic environment.
Methods The CUPID Questionnaire and Effort Reward Imbalance Questionnaire (ERI) were administered to all subjects (Brazil = 150, Italy = 311) to collect MSKD and related disability/absences, and the perceived OS. Data analysis considered the Wilcoxon’s and Chi-square tests to compare answers across the countries, and multivariate logistic regression models to investigate the association between OS and MSKD.
Results The two population resulted comparables distribution of gender (female = 84%). Italians reported more frequently to have been exposed to high physical workload in performing their daily job tasks.
In term of OS, Brazilian nurses reported a sensibly lower perceived “effort” and a higher “reward” (median ERI = 0.52 vs. 0.63, p = 0.001). In contrast, the prevalence of MSKD was comparable across countries (back and shoulder pain), but the frequency of MSKD-related absences in the last year (one week or more) was sensibly lower in Brazil (5% vs. 12%). Even if stress level were different, OS was associated to increased MSKD in both countries (Adj OR for an IQR ERI increase = 1.60 inItaly and OR = 4.14 in Brazil, p < 0.05 for both).
Conclusions Reports of OS resulted very different in two groups, but its relationship with MSKD was present in both countries. The observed difference in MSKD-related absences prevalence had no significance.
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