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The Role of the Work Context in Multiple Wellness Outcomes for Hospital Patient Care Workers

Sorensen, Glorian PhD, MPH; Stoddard, Anne M. ScD; Stoffel, Sonja PhD; Buxton, Orfeu PhD; Sembajwe, Grace ScD; Hashimoto, Dean MD; Dennerlein, Jack T. PhD; Hopcia, Karen ScD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: August 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 8 - p 899–910
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318226a74a
Original Articles

Objective: To examine the relationships among low back pain (LBP), inadequate physical activity, and sleep deficiency among patient care workers, and of these outcomes to work context.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of patient care workers (N = 1572, response rate = 79%).

Results: A total of 53% reported LBP, 46%, inadequate physical activity, and 59%, sleep deficiency. Inadequate physical activity and sleep deficiency were associated (P = 0.02), but LBP was not significantly related to either. Increased risk of LBP was significantly related to job demands, harassment at work, decreased supervisor support, and job title. Inadequate physical activity was significantly associated with low decision latitude. Sleep deficiency was significantly related to low supervisor support, harassment at work, low ergonomic practices, people-oriented culture, and job title.

Conclusions: These findings point to shared pathways in the work environment that jointly influence multiple health and well-being outcomes.

From the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Drs Sorensen and Stoffel), Harvard School of Public Health (Drs Sorensen, Stoffel, Sembajwe, Hashimoto, Dennerlein, and Hopcia), and Harvard Medical School (Dr Buxton), Partners HealthCare, Inc (Drs Hashimoto and Hopcia), Brigham and Women's Hospital (Dr Buxton), Boston, Mass; and New England Research Institutes (Dr Stoddard), Watertown, Mass.

During the past three years, Dr. Buxton received an investigator-initiated research grant from Sepracor Inc. (now Sunovion) and consults for Disnmore LLC as an expert witness. All other authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Address correspondence to: Glorian Sorensen, PhD, MPH, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston MA 02115; E-mail: glorian_sorensen@dfci.harvard.edu.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine