Introduction The continuous increase in psychosocial demands of work contributes to increase health problems such as musculoskeletal pain (DME). The First Survey on Working Conditions and Health in Central America (I ECCTS) offers a unique opportunity to study the relationship in low- and middle-income between formal and informal workers.
Objective To assess the association between psychosocial risk factors and musculoskeletal complaints in the six Spanish-speaking countries of Central America.
Methods A representative sample of 12,024 nationally workforce in Central America was used to estimated the association between psychosocial factors and the DME by calculating prevalence ratios (PR) with Poisson regression models.
Results The prevalence of DME, especially cervical and dorsal, were higher in women (53% Nicaragua), manual workers (54% El Salvador) and informal (39.0% Central) than men (48.5% El Salvador), the collar (45% Nicaragua) and formal (30.2% Central), respectively. Exposure to unfavourable levels of psychosocial factors associated with higher prevalence of DME (RP = 1.62 [95% CI: 1.42 to 1.85] to the high demand) but the differences in DME in relation to psychosocial factors were higher among formal than among informal workers.
Conclusions This is the first scientific evidence in middle and low income on how the relationship between psychosocial factors and health varies formal employment of workers. These results can be used to develop occupational health policies in Latin America.
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