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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31829c76b3
Original Articles

Construction Workers Struggle With a High Prevalence of Mental Distress, and This Is Associated With Their Pain and Injuries

Jacobsen, Henrik Borsting PsyD; Caban-Martinez, Alberto DO, MPH, PhD; Onyebeke, Lynn C. MSc; Sorensen, Glorian MPH, PhD; Dennerlein, Jack T. PhD; Reme, Silje Endresen PsyD, PhD

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Abstract

Objectives: We aimed to investigate how mental distress was associated with pain and injuries in a convenience sample of construction workers.

Methods: A cross-sectional, mental health assessment was conducted in a convenience sample of construction workers (N = 172). A subsample participated in a clinical interview (n = 10). We used a cutoff (1.50 or greater) on Hopkins Symptom Checklist–25 to determine substantial mental distress and determined associations with pain and injury outcomes.

Results: The prevalence of substantial mental distress was 16% in the workers. This was supported by follow-up clinical interviews where 9 of 10 workers fulfilled the criteria for a mental disorder. Substantial mental distress was associated with both injury rate and self-reported pain.

Conclusion: This pilot study strongly suggests the need for rigorous studies on construction worker mental health and how it affects their work and well-being.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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