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J Occup Environ Med. 1997 Aug;39(8):748-59.

The influence of personal variables on work-related low-back disorders and implications for future research.

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  • 1Liberty Mutual Research Center for Safety & Health, Hopkinton, Mass 01748, USA.


Work-related low-back disorders (LBDs) continue to be one of the single largest sources of compensation costs. The relative contributions of personal, workplace, organizational, and environmental variables to the development and severity of LBDs are not completely understood. The inclusion of personal variables in epidemiologic studies of LBDs has been inconsistent, and different authors have different opinions concerning the importance of such variables. Personal variables either known or suspected to influence outcomes are discussed to elucidate the importance of these variables with respect to understanding LBDs and conducting epidemiological studies in industry. The authors suggest that age, gender, injury history, relative strength, smoking, and psychosocial variables be studied further, and that height, weight, pathologies, genetic factors, maximum oxygen uptake, and absolute strength are unlikely to produce significant effects in industrial populations.

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