274123 A mixed methods approach to understanding leisure-time physical activity and musculoskeletal pain among construction workers: Findings from a pilot study

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Alberto Caban-Martinez, PhD, DO, MPH, CPH , Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Kincaid Lowe, BA , Department of Environmental Health, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Anne Stoddard, ScD , Statistical Analysis and Research, New England Research Institute, Watertown, MA
Christopher Kenwood, MSc , New England Research Institutes, Watertown, MA
Jamie Becker, LCSW-C , Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America, Washington, DC, DC
Robert Herrick, ScD , Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Glorian Sorensen, PhD, MPH , Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
Introduction: Construction workers have a high prevalence of musculoskeletal pain, a major cause of work-related disabilities, lost-time illness, and injuries. Heavy physical work demands and awkward body postures make them particularly vulnerable to musculoskeletal pain, and research has shown that regular physical activity may reduce musculoskeletal pain. Objective: To examine whether self-reported musculoskeletal pain is associated with engagement in Leisure-Time Physical Activity (LTPA) among construction workers and explore the potential influence of socio-demographic correlates and type of LTPA on this association. A sequential explanatory mixed-methods design was employed. Methods: Data were collected in 2011 from 43 workers employed at a commercial construction sites in the New England area, through a self-administered questionnaire. In addition, one semi-structured, focus group was conducted with 5 workers. Results: Over 93% of construction workers engaged in LTPA and 70% reported musculoskeletal pain in the 3 months prior to survey administration. Fifty-seven percent of workers who met LTPA guidelines reported lower extremity pain (i.e. ankle, knee) compared with 21% of those who did not (p=0.04). Lower levels of LTPA were associated with higher age, lower education, being married, and having health insurance, although these relationships were not statistically significant. The top five most frequently reported LTPAs include: walking, bicycling, hockey, weightlifting, and gardening. Furthermore, qualitative analyses indicate “being too tired from work” and “no interest” as barriers and “insurance incentives” as potential motivators for LTPA. Conclusion: Findings from this pilot study suggest that construction workers engage in regular and various types of LTPA despite musculoskeletal pain.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how musculoskeletal pain is associated with engagement in leisure-time physical activity among construction workers. 2. Discuss how worker socio-demographic characteristics and type of leisure-time physical activity influence self-reported musculoskeletal pain.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the data collection and analyses for the completed work presented in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.