Risk factors for self-reported carpal tunnel syndrome among hairstylists in Gaborone, Botswana
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University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana (Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Environmental Health)
Online publication date: 2020-12-29
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Patience Erick   

University of Botswana, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Environmental Health, 4775 Notwane Road, Gaborone, Botswana
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2021;34(3):437-50
Objectives: Hairstylists form an occupational group whose tasks involve repetitive and forced movements of hands and wrists, thus posing a risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This study assessed the prevalence of and factors associated with CTS symptoms among hairstylists in Gaborone, Botswana. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire distributed among randomly selected hairstylists. The questionnaire gathered information on demographic characteristics, lifestyle, work-related characteristics and psychosocial factors. The Boston Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Questionnaire was used to determine the severity of CTS symptoms and its functional effects. Data were then analyzed using χ2 and logistic regression models. The level of significance was determined at p < 0.05. Results: A total of 165 hairstylists took part in the study, with 92 (56%) of the respondents being females. The mean age (M±SD) of the respondents was 35.05±7.54 years with an age range of 22–63 years. Seventy-three (42.2%) hairstylists reported CTS symptoms, with the majority (73%) being females. Out of all the CTS cases, 53 (72.6%) and 16 (21.9%) had mild and moderate symptoms, respectively. Over 80% of the hairstylists did not know about CTS. Among individual factors, CTS symptoms were associated with being female (the odds ratio [OR] of 9.99, and the 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.64–27.44), increasing age (OR 9.84, 95% CI: 2.74–35.36), the length of employment (OR 3.73, 95% CI: 1.39–9.95), hair washing (OR 2.88, 95% CI: 1.41–5.85), an awkward posture (OR 2.52, 95% CI: 1.03–6.19), and the use of a great muscular effort when performing a task (OR 2.39, 95% CI: 1.01–5.72). Perceived heavy workload and stressful work were also risk factors. Conclusions: The results suggest a high prevalence of CTS among female hairstylists in Gaborone, and also point out that individual, work-related and psychosocial factors are associated with this syndrome. Future large-scale research is needed to establish the extent of CTS countrywide to influence policy-making. Currently, CTS is not listed amongst occupational health diseases in Botswana. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2021;34(3):437–50
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