Psychosocial factors and musculoskeletal disorders in the construction industry: A systematic review

Tarek M. Sobeih, O. Salem, Nancy Daraiseh, Ash Genaidy, Richard Shell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: Recent reports indicate that construction workers are at a significant risk of musculoskeletal disorders. While there are several reviews investigating the association between psychosocial factors and musculoskeletal disorders, there are none focusing on those specific to the construction industry. Objective: To review and critically appraise the current epidemiological literature linking psychosocial work factors to musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers. Methods: An online search of relevant databases was conducted. The quality of identified articles was assessed using a quality scoring checklist. The evidence from selected studies was summarized and the results of the critical appraisal were discussed. Results: Eight cross-sectional and two cohort studies were included in this review. High job stress was the most commonly investigated factor followed by job satisfaction, job control and high quantitative job demands. All studies reported an association between musculoskeletal disorders and at least one psychosocial factor. Many of the associations reported were significant even after adjusting for demographics and physical demands of the job. Conclusion: Despite some methodological concerns discussed in this review, there is evidence that psychosocial factors are associated with musculoskeletal disorders. This information is essential to the construction industry since most intervention programmes focus only on the physical demands of the job.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-344
Number of pages16
JournalTheoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Construction industry
  • Job control
  • Job stress
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Psychosocial factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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