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J Rheumatol. 1994 Mar;21(3):515-22.

Socioeconomic risk factors and musculoskeletal disability.

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Arthritis Community Research and Evaluation Unit, Toronto, ON, Canada.



Musculoskeletal disorders are the major cause of disability in adults, and increased understanding of the determinants of disability could have important implications for the health of the population.


To explore the socioeconomic risk factors associated with the reporting of musculoskeletal disability in the Canadian Health and Activity Limitation Survey, and to investigate whether these associations are unique or are shared by other causes.


Stepwise logistic regression analyses were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios to compare the risk of disability vs no disability in relation to sociodemographic risk factors (age, sex, marital status, number in household, income, education, employment status) for 4 causes of disability: musculoskeletal, nonmusculoskeletal, arthritis and back disorders.


Findings for sociodemographic risk factors, apart from sex are similar for musculoskeletal and nonmusculoskeltal causes of disability. Disability is independently associated with increasing age, not being married, less years of schooling, lower income and not being employed.


Data from a Canadian cross sectional study show that the risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disability are similar to those for other causes of disability. Discussion of the meaning of these associations needs to take into account the broader context of disability as a whole, rather than focussing solely on musculoskeletal disorders.

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