Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2008;34(5):345-355    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1274

Can favorable psychosocial work conditions and high work dedication protect against the occurrence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders?

by Joling CI, Blatter BM, Ybema JF, Bongers PM

Objectives This study investigated whether work dedication and job resources are longitudinally related to work-related musculoskeletal disorders and whether job resources buffer the impact of job demands on these disorders?

Methods Data were used from a longitudinal three-phase study (2004, 2005, 2006) on health at work among a sample of Dutch workers. The first survey was sent in 2004 by e-mail to 3100 members of an existing panel. For the analyses, 1522 participants were included with full longitudinal data. The analyses were performed using an autoregressive model with generalized estimating equations.

Results The job-resource quality of communication was found to predict the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders over time. This effect was not mediated by work dedication. A high quality of communication was also found to buffer the negative effects of a high physical workload on the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Furthermore, a low level of social support by colleagues was found to buffer the negative effect of a medium physical workload on work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Conclusions This study shows that job resources are not only important for promoting work dedication, but may also moderate the negative impact of high job demands on the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. With respect to social support, the question is raised of whether this can also work negatively. The results of this study imply that, besides avoiding or reducing risks to health in the workplace and lowering job demands, strengthening job resources may additionally buffer harmful effects of job demands on musculoskeletal health.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2004;30(5):390-398  2001;27(4):279-286
The following articles refer to this text: 2008;34(5):323-325; 2009;35(4):241-243; 2014;40(5):473-482