Psychological and physical correlates of musculoskeletal symptoms in male professional divers and offshore workers

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Abstract

Background
Underwater divers are more likely to complain of musculoskeletal symptoms than a control population. Accordingly, we conducted a study to determine whether musculoskeletal symptoms reflected observable physical disorder, to ascertain the relationship between symptoms and measures of mood, memory and executive function and to assess any need for future screening.

Methods
A 10% random sample of responders to a prior postal health questionnaire was examined (151 divers, 120 non-diving offshore workers). Participants underwent physical examination and a neuropsychological test battery for memory and executive function. Participants also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale for anxiety (HADSa) and depression (HADSd), and questionnaires for physical health-related quality of life (SF36 PCS), mental health-related quality of life (SF36 MCS), memory (Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ)), executive function (dysexecutive syndrome questionnaire (DEX)), musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) and general unrelated symptom reporting.

Results
Of participants with moderate/severe musculoskeletal symptoms, 52% had physical signs, and of participants with no symptoms, 73% had no physical signs. There was no difference in the prevalence of signs or symptoms between groups. Musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with lower SF36 PCS for both groups. In divers, musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with higher general unrelated symptom reporting and poorer scoring for HADSa, PRMQ, CFQ and DEX with scores remaining within the normative range. A positive physical examination was associated with general unrelated symptom reporting in divers. There were no differences in neuropsychological test scores attributable to either group or musculoskeletal symptoms.

Conclusions
Musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with physical signs, but this was not a strong effect. Reporting of musculoskeletal symptoms by the divers studied was also associated with a tendency to report symptoms generally or somatisation, and caution should be exercised regarding their interpretation as an indication of physical disease or their use for health screening.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages8
JournalExtreme Physiology & Medicine
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013

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Psychology
Executive Function
Anxiety
Episodic Memory
Neuropsychological Tests
Depression
Physical Examination
Quality of Life
Health
Surveys and Questionnaires
Signs and Symptoms
Mental Health
Population

Keywords

  • diving
  • symptoms
  • musculoskeletal system
  • neuropsychological tests

Cite this

@article{ae7743690f1648939eb3c05efbe331c3,
title = "Psychological and physical correlates of musculoskeletal symptoms in male professional divers and offshore workers",
abstract = "BackgroundUnderwater divers are more likely to complain of musculoskeletal symptoms than a control population. Accordingly, we conducted a study to determine whether musculoskeletal symptoms reflected observable physical disorder, to ascertain the relationship between symptoms and measures of mood, memory and executive function and to assess any need for future screening.MethodsA 10{\%} random sample of responders to a prior postal health questionnaire was examined (151 divers, 120 non-diving offshore workers). Participants underwent physical examination and a neuropsychological test battery for memory and executive function. Participants also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale for anxiety (HADSa) and depression (HADSd), and questionnaires for physical health-related quality of life (SF36 PCS), mental health-related quality of life (SF36 MCS), memory (Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ)), executive function (dysexecutive syndrome questionnaire (DEX)), musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) and general unrelated symptom reporting.ResultsOf participants with moderate/severe musculoskeletal symptoms, 52{\%} had physical signs, and of participants with no symptoms, 73{\%} had no physical signs. There was no difference in the prevalence of signs or symptoms between groups. Musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with lower SF36 PCS for both groups. In divers, musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with higher general unrelated symptom reporting and poorer scoring for HADSa, PRMQ, CFQ and DEX with scores remaining within the normative range. A positive physical examination was associated with general unrelated symptom reporting in divers. There were no differences in neuropsychological test scores attributable to either group or musculoskeletal symptoms.ConclusionsMusculoskeletal symptoms were associated with physical signs, but this was not a strong effect. Reporting of musculoskeletal symptoms by the divers studied was also associated with a tendency to report symptoms generally or somatisation, and caution should be exercised regarding their interpretation as an indication of physical disease or their use for health screening.",
keywords = "diving , symptoms, musculoskeletal system, neuropsychological tests",
author = "Ross, {John A S} and Macdiarmid, {Jennifer I} and Rostron, {Claire L} and Watt, {Stephen J} and Crawford, {John R}",
year = "2013",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1186/2046-7648-2-5",
language = "English",
volume = "2",
journal = "Extreme Physiology & Medicine",
issn = "2046-7648",
publisher = "Springer Science + Business Media",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Psychological and physical correlates of musculoskeletal symptoms in male professional divers and offshore workers

AU - Ross, John A S

AU - Macdiarmid, Jennifer I

AU - Rostron, Claire L

AU - Watt, Stephen J

AU - Crawford, John R

PY - 2013/2/1

Y1 - 2013/2/1

N2 - BackgroundUnderwater divers are more likely to complain of musculoskeletal symptoms than a control population. Accordingly, we conducted a study to determine whether musculoskeletal symptoms reflected observable physical disorder, to ascertain the relationship between symptoms and measures of mood, memory and executive function and to assess any need for future screening.MethodsA 10% random sample of responders to a prior postal health questionnaire was examined (151 divers, 120 non-diving offshore workers). Participants underwent physical examination and a neuropsychological test battery for memory and executive function. Participants also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale for anxiety (HADSa) and depression (HADSd), and questionnaires for physical health-related quality of life (SF36 PCS), mental health-related quality of life (SF36 MCS), memory (Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ)), executive function (dysexecutive syndrome questionnaire (DEX)), musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) and general unrelated symptom reporting.ResultsOf participants with moderate/severe musculoskeletal symptoms, 52% had physical signs, and of participants with no symptoms, 73% had no physical signs. There was no difference in the prevalence of signs or symptoms between groups. Musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with lower SF36 PCS for both groups. In divers, musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with higher general unrelated symptom reporting and poorer scoring for HADSa, PRMQ, CFQ and DEX with scores remaining within the normative range. A positive physical examination was associated with general unrelated symptom reporting in divers. There were no differences in neuropsychological test scores attributable to either group or musculoskeletal symptoms.ConclusionsMusculoskeletal symptoms were associated with physical signs, but this was not a strong effect. Reporting of musculoskeletal symptoms by the divers studied was also associated with a tendency to report symptoms generally or somatisation, and caution should be exercised regarding their interpretation as an indication of physical disease or their use for health screening.

AB - BackgroundUnderwater divers are more likely to complain of musculoskeletal symptoms than a control population. Accordingly, we conducted a study to determine whether musculoskeletal symptoms reflected observable physical disorder, to ascertain the relationship between symptoms and measures of mood, memory and executive function and to assess any need for future screening.MethodsA 10% random sample of responders to a prior postal health questionnaire was examined (151 divers, 120 non-diving offshore workers). Participants underwent physical examination and a neuropsychological test battery for memory and executive function. Participants also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale for anxiety (HADSa) and depression (HADSd), and questionnaires for physical health-related quality of life (SF36 PCS), mental health-related quality of life (SF36 MCS), memory (Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ)), executive function (dysexecutive syndrome questionnaire (DEX)), musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) and general unrelated symptom reporting.ResultsOf participants with moderate/severe musculoskeletal symptoms, 52% had physical signs, and of participants with no symptoms, 73% had no physical signs. There was no difference in the prevalence of signs or symptoms between groups. Musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with lower SF36 PCS for both groups. In divers, musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with higher general unrelated symptom reporting and poorer scoring for HADSa, PRMQ, CFQ and DEX with scores remaining within the normative range. A positive physical examination was associated with general unrelated symptom reporting in divers. There were no differences in neuropsychological test scores attributable to either group or musculoskeletal symptoms.ConclusionsMusculoskeletal symptoms were associated with physical signs, but this was not a strong effect. Reporting of musculoskeletal symptoms by the divers studied was also associated with a tendency to report symptoms generally or somatisation, and caution should be exercised regarding their interpretation as an indication of physical disease or their use for health screening.

KW - diving

KW - symptoms

KW - musculoskeletal system

KW - neuropsychological tests

U2 - 10.1186/2046-7648-2-5

DO - 10.1186/2046-7648-2-5

M3 - Article

VL - 2

JO - Extreme Physiology & Medicine

JF - Extreme Physiology & Medicine

SN - 2046-7648

M1 - 5

ER -