Objectives Epidemiological studies have shown that musculoskeletal symptoms are frequent occupational injury and disability among nurses in developing countries. Preventive measures were not able to reduce musculoskeletal disorders significantly in nursing profession. This study was performed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the association among risk factors in developing musculoskeletal symptoms.
Method A structural equation model was applied to describe and analyse complex causal relationships from sets of occupational variables involved in musculoskeletal symptoms. A questionnaire was applied to nurses at hospitals affiliated to Semnan Medical Sciences University to collect data on personal and occupational factors and musculoskeletal symptoms. An ergonomic rapid entire body assessment measured work posture risks.
Results Physical work demand and mental pressure increased the risk of musculoskeletal disorders significantly. Musculoskeletal symptoms increased in nurses who worked for extended hours and experienced frequent unstable work posture. Structural equation model showed that musculoskeletal symptoms were associated directly and indirectly by physical and mental job variables, employment status, age and lifestyle.
Conclusions Covarience structural analysis is useful to describe and understand both the direct and indirect effects of variables with complex relationship between risk factors on the prediction of musculoskeletal symptoms.
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