Psychological and Physical Workload and the Development of Musculoskeletal Symptoms Among Female Elderly-Care Workers

Pernilla Larsman , Jan Johansson Hanse *
Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.

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Larsman et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden; Tel: +46 (0)31 786 1652; E-mail:


The aim of the present study was to investigate the relations between psychological and physical workload and musculoskeletal neck, shoulder and upper back symptoms. In this longitudinal two-phase cohort study a survey was conducted among non-managerial female elderly-care workers (n = 553). The analyses were based on respondents who were considered free from the respective symptoms at initial ratings, resulting in study samples of n = 230 for neck symptoms, n = 211 for shoulder symptoms, n = 400 for upper back symptoms, and n = 204 for low back symptoms. The results indicate that psychological workload is related to the development of musculoskeletal (neck and upper back) symptoms measured at an 18-month follow-up, both in itself and in combination with physical workload. The most important finding was that psychological workload shows significant temporal relations to neck and upper back symptoms.

Keywords: Psychological workload, physical workload, musculoskeletal symptoms, elderly-care workers.