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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2007 Oct;81(1):19-30. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

Appraised leadership styles, psychosocial work factors, and musculoskeletal pain among public employees.

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National Institute for Working Life, 831 40 Ostersund, Sweden.



The main aim of this study was to explore the associations between appraised leadership styles, psychosocial work factors and musculoskeletal pain among subordinates in four different public service sectors from an epidemiological perspective.


A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted; data from 2,403 public sector employees in subordinate positions (86% women) were analysed. The appraised leadership styles were measured through items from a modified version of the CPE questionnaire (C change, P production/structure, E employee/relation). The structure validity of the CPE-model was examined by principal component analysis (PCA). Univariate and multivariate analyses of associations between levels of musculoskeletal pain and appraised leadership styles and with psychosocial work factors were conducted. Odds ratios (ORs) with confidence intervals (CIs) of 95% were used as a measure of associations.


There were small variations in the appraisals of the immediate manager among the subordinates. However, the associations between musculoskeletal pain and leadership styles varied according to sector. Poor appraisals (low scores) on "change" and "employee relation" dimensions were associated with high levels of musculoskeletal pain in two sectors: home and health care services. In the domestic catering services, poor appraisals of managers in the "production/structure" dimension had the strongest association with high levels of pain. In general, poor appraisals of the "change" dimension was most strongly associated with high levels of musculoskeletal pain. "High work demands" had the strongest association with high levels of pain, particularly among the men.


Poor appraisals of managers and their leadership styles were associated with high levels of musculoskeletal pain among both female and male subordinates in different public service sectors. There is therefore a great need of further studies of the mechanisms behind the relationships between the leadership styles and their impact on health among the genders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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