Neck-Shoulder Pain and Work Status among Former Sewing Machine Operators: A 14-year Follow-up Study

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Purpose A total of 243 Danish female sewing machine operators lost their jobs in 1996 because of outsourcing. The aim was to investigate the employment status during follow-up from 1996 to 2008, and to estimate to what extent former neck-shoulder pain had an impact on later work participation. Methods Assessment of neck-shoulder pain was based on questionnaires completed in 1994. The Danish Register-Based Evaluation of Marginalization (DREAM) register was used to describe employment status during the follow-up period. Register data were explored by sequence analyses and graphics, and the association between neck-shoulder pain and work participation was analyzed by logistic regression analysis. Results In all, 987 working years were lost during follow-up, and a sequence index plot revealed interrupted and heterogeneous courses of incomes. The odds ratio between neck and shoulder pain and a work participation score less than 75% was 1.49 (95% CI 0.84-2.67). Conclusions After outsourcing of the textile industry, the former sewing machine operators had decreased work participation and frequent transitions between different income types. Previous neck-shoulder pain tended to be associated with poor work participation. The results suggest that increased attention should be to given to dismissed workers from other industries that become outsourced, especially unskilled workers with similar work-related health limitations. Additionally, we concluded that time-to-event measures in research involving employment status are insufficient because of the many transitions that take place in working life.

TidsskriftJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Sider (fra-til)80–88
StatusUdgivet - 2018

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