Relationships between job stress, post-traumatic stress and musculoskeletal symptoms in firefighters and the role of job burnout and depression mediators: a Bayesian network model

Amir Hossein Khoshakhlagh*, Saleh Al Sulaie, Saeid Yazdanirad, Rob Marc Orr, Fereydoon Laal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction
Job stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and negative psychological outcomes in firefighters can be caused, or aggravated, by their work. These mental disorders can impart musculoskeletal symptoms. This study
aimed to investigate relationships between musculoskeletal and psychological disorders in a population of firefighters using a Bayesian network model.

Methods
This cross-sectional study, conducted in 2022, included 2339 firefighters who completed questionnaires during their rest periods. The questionnaires comprised of demographical information, the Occupational Stress
Questionnaire-HSE, the PTSD Checklist, Maslach Burnout Inventory, Center for Epidemiologic Studies - Depression scale (CES-D), and Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. GeNIe academic software was used to analyze the Bayesian
network.

Results
High job stress and high PTSD each increased the probability of musculoskeletal symptoms by 34%. When combined, high job stress and high PTSD increased the probability of musculoskeletal symptoms by 37%. Among the
mediator’s burnout and depression, depression had the highest association with musculoskeletal symptoms.

Conclusions
Job stress and PTSD can increase musculoskeletal symptoms and are influenced by psychological mediators (like burnout and depression). Adopting preventive and therapeutic measures to mitigate job stress and PTSD, mitigate and rehabilitate WMSD, and manage associated mediators are critical for the mental and physical health of firefighters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number468
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2024

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