Occupational stress and musculoskeletal symptoms in firefighters
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American Medical Center, Nicosia, Cyprus (Department of Occupational Medicine)
Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA (Department of Environmental Health, Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology (EOME))
University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus (Department of Psychology)
University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK (School of Medicine, Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, Centre for Organizational Health and Development)
Online publication date: 2019-03-29
Corresponding author
Elpidoforos S. Soteriades   

American Medical Center, Department of Occupational Medicine, 215 Spyrou Kyprianou Ave., 2047 Strovolos, Nicosia, Cyprus
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2019;32(3):341–352
Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential association between occupational stress and musculoskeletal symptoms in firefighters. Material and Methods: Data were collected among Cypriot firefighters through a battery of adapted questionnaires completed anonymously. Results: A total of 430 firefighters (a response rate of 68%) completed the survey (the age range: 21–60 years). A total of 11% of firefighters reported moderate to extremely severe stress through the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale. A total of 40% of firefighters reported musculoskeletal symptoms, the most frequent being back pain. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models showed that occupational stress was associated with a 50% higher risk of musculoskeletal symptoms in firefighters after adjusting for age, smoking and obesity (OR = 1.52, p = 0.04). In addition, a positive dose-response relationship was found between occupational stress and musculoskeletal symptoms. Conclusions: Occupational stress constitutes a significant risk for firefighters and is associated with higher prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms at work. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2019;32(3):341–52