Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg,
Sweden | Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine,
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Note:  Address for correspondence: Jan Johansson Hanse, Department of
Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Box 500, S-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden.
Tel.: +46 31 786 1652; Fax: +46 31 786 4628; E-mail:
Abstract: The aim was to test a structural model of the relations between
psychological and mechanical workload and musculoskeletal neck/shoulder
symptoms. This two-wave longitudinal cohort study was based on a questionnaire
survey among Swedish female child-care workers (n=789).
Two models were tested using structural equation modelling, one containing only
those participants considered symptom free at baseline, thus focusing on
symptom development, and one containing all participants irrespective of their
baseline musculoskeletal status. The results indicate that psychological
workload was related to the development of neck/shoulder symptoms, and thus
highlight the importance of addressing psychosocial work environment factors in
organization design and workplace interventions. However, psychological
workload was not related to symptoms (when controlling for baseline mechanical
workload and symptoms) in the model not distinguishing between different
symptoms processes. These findings point to the importance of distinguishing
between different processes such as development, maintenance and recovery from
symptoms in studies of workplace factors and musculoskeletal symptoms.
Mechanical workload was not related to neck/shoulder symptoms, when controlling
for baseline psychological workload and symptoms, in any of the models tested.
No interaction effect was found for psychological and mechanical workload on