Occupational stress and musculoskeletal symptoms in firefighters

Elpidoforos S. Soteriades, Lilia Psalta, Stavroula Leka, George Spanoudis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-352
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Firefighters
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Physical activity
  • Psychosomatic stress
  • Questionnaire survey
  • Work-related stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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