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Recurring Pain and the Potential of Employer Support to Improve Participant Health

Williams, Jessica A.R. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 12 - p 1221–1227
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000315
Original Articles

Objective: This study describes the relationships between a set of workplace psychosocial factors, including health-related employer support and recurring pain.

Methods: This study used a pooled sample of participants from 14 US employers (N = 34,359) from 2010 (for one employer, 2008). Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate the relationships, after controlling for many additional factors.

Results: Emotional, but not physical, health-related employer support was associated with reduced probability of pain. Job satisfaction, getting to use strengths at work, and having a supervisor who created a trusting and open environment were also associated with a reduced probability of pain.

Conclusions: Although more research is needed to firmly establish the causal nature of the relationships, psychosocial workplace factors were associated with reduced probability of pain in this study.

From the Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, Calif; Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, Mass.

Address correspondence to: Jessica A.R. Williams, PhD, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard School of Public Health, 9 Bow Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (

This work was funded by the UCLA Graduate Division Dissertation Year Fellowship Award (2012–2013). I also thank the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program for its financial support.

No conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine