Fibromyalgia in the workplace: risk factors for sick leave are related to professional context [...]

Laroche, F., Azoulay, D., Trouvin, A.P., Coste, J., Perrot, S. (2019)



Background : Work and workplace factors are important in fibromyalgia management. We investigated factors associated with sick leave in professionally active women living with fibromyalgia.

Methods : A questionnaire for fibromyalgia patients in employment was developed by pain and occupational physicians and patients’ organizations. Women in full-time work, screened for fibromyalgia with the FiRST questionnaire, were recruited for a national online survey. Sick leave over the preceding year was analyzed.

Results : In 5 months, we recruited 955 women, with a mean of 37 days of sick leave in the previous year: no sick leave (36%), up to 1 month (38%), 1 to 2 months (14%), more than 2 months (12%). In the groups displayed no differences in demographic characteristics, fibromyalgia symptoms, functional severity and psychological distress were observed. However, they differed in workplace characteristics, commute time, stress and difficulties at work, repetitive work, noisy conditions, career progression problems and lack of recognition, which were strong independent risk factors for longer sick leave. Sedentary positions, an extended sitting position, heavy loads, exposure to thermal disturbances and the use of vibrating tools did not increase the risk of sick leave.

Conclusions : Women with fibromyalgia frequently take sick leave, the risk factors for which are related to the workplace rather than fibromyalgia characteristics.

Perspective : This is the first study to assess the impact of occupational and clinical factors on sick leave in women living with fibromyalgia. Risk factors were found to be related to the workplace rather than fibromyalgia and personal characteristics. Workplace interventions should be developed for women with fibromyalgia.


(publication) Laroche, F., Azoulay, D., Trouvin, A.P., Coste, J., Perrot, S. (2019). Fibromyalgia in the workplace: risk factors for sick leave are related to professional context rather than fibromyalgia characteristics — a French national survey of 955 patients. BMC Rheumatology, 3(44).

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