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J Psychosom Res. 2004 Nov;57(5):417-22.

Work stress and incidence of newly diagnosed fibromyalgia: prospective cohort study.

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Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 9, FIN-00014, Helsinki, Finland.



We examined the prospective association between occupational stress and incidence of newly diagnosed fibromyalgia.


Cohort study with questionnaire surveys in 1998 and 2000 completed by 4791 hospital employees (4250 women and 541 men). Stress, as indicated by high workload, low decision latitude, and being a victim of workplace bullying, was assessed in the first survey. Incident cases (n=47) were employees reporting physician-diagnosed fibromyalgia in 2000 but not in 1998. Covariates were sex, age, income, obesity, and smoking.


After adjustment for covariates, the odds ratio of incident diagnosed fibromyalgia for workplace bullying was 4.1 (95% CI 2.0-9.6). The corresponding odds ratios for high workload and low decision latitude were 2.1 (1.2-3.9) and 2.1 (1.1-4.0), respectively.


Stress seems to be a contributing factor in the development of fibromyalgia, but further research is needed to examine whether stress perceptions are affected by undiagnosed fibromyalgia.

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