Physical activity during work and leisure show contrasting associations with fear-avoidance beliefs: Cross-sectional study among more than 10,000 wage earners of the general working population

Tidsskriftartikel - 2018

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The association between different types of physical activity and fear-avoidance beliefs remains unclear. This study investigates the association between work-related and leisure-time physical activity with fear-avoidance beliefs in the general working population.

METHODS: Currently employed wage earners (n=10,427) from the 2010 round of the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study replied to questions about work, lifestyle and health. General linear models controlling for lifestyle, psychosocial work factors, education, pain, medication-use and chronic diseases tested associations of work-related and leisure-time physical activity (explanatory variables) with fear-avoidance beliefs (outcome variable, scale 0-100).

RESULTS: The level of fear-avoidance was 41.7 (SD 27.3), 38.0 (SD 26.9) and 54.3 (SD 27.7) among the general working population, a subgroup of pain-free individuals, and a subgroup with back disease, respectively. In the general working population, the level of fear-avoidance among those with low, moderate and high physical activity during leisure were 47 [95% confidence intervals (CI) 45-49], 44 (95% CI 42-46) and 43 (95% CI 41-45), and physical activity at work were 40 (95% CI 39-42), 44 (95% CI 42-46) and 49 (95% CI 48-51), respectively. Individuals with back disease and a high level of physical activity at work showed the overall highest level of fear-avoidance whereas pain-free individuals with a low level of physical activity at work showed the overall lowest level of fear-avoidance.

CONCLUSIONS: Physical activity during work and leisure shows contrasting associations with fear-avoidance beliefs. While high physical activity during leisure is associated with lower levels, high physical activity at work is associated with higher levels of fear-avoidance.

IMPLICATIONS: The present results may reflect some deeply rooted negative beliefs about pain and work in the population. On the societal level, campaigns may be a possible way forward as these have shown to improve beliefs about musculoskeletal pain and work.

Reference

Tribian A, Vinstrup J, Sundstrup E, Jay K, Bös K, Andersen LL. Physical activity during work and leisure show contrasting associations with fear-avoidance beliefs: Cross-sectional study among more than 10,000 wage earners of the general working population. Scandinavian Journal of Pain 2018;18(1):71-79.
doi: 10.1515/sjpain-2017-0136

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