OBJECTIVES: To analyse the association between symptoms from the musculoskeletal system and many psychosocial and other physical stressors in the job demand-control-support model. Also to analyse the influence of personality characteristics. METHODS: 1306 salespeople answered a self administered questionnaire on job characteristics, exposures, personality characteristics, social network, smoking and drinking habits, and symptoms of the neck, shoulders, and low back. RESULTS: In multivariate analyses, high job demands were related to neck and shoulder symptoms (ORs 1.43-1.47 in the highest exposure groups compared with the lowest), and tendency to become overworked and lack of social support from colleagues were related to back pain (OR 1.81-2.04 in the highest exposure groups compared with the lowest). Lack of variation in the job, low control over time, and high competition were related to neck symptoms, but there was an interaction so that both low control over time and high competition had to be present to increase the OR. Also, driving long distances and sedentary work were related to neck and low back pain, and time spent in the car to shoulder pain (ORs 1.64-2.80 in the three highest groups v the lowest exposure groups). CONCLUSION: Both psychosocial and physical factors were associated with musculoskeletal symptoms. Many dimensions of the demand-control-support model were associated with symptoms. Only one personality characteristic, tendency to feel overworked, significantly influenced the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms.
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