Association between musculoskeletal symptoms and perceived stress in public servants of a Federal University in the South of Brazil

Letícia Maria da Silva Almeida Samuel de Carvalho Dumith About the authors



In view of the high prevalence of pain complaints among workers in the country and their consequences in the quality of life and work, the objective of this study was to investigate the association between the perceived stress and the presence of musculoskeletal symptoms among public servants of the Federal University of Rio Grande.


Observational, transversal and quantitative study. The survey population comprised all active servants in the second semester of 2016 in any campuses of the Federal University of Rio Grande. Participants received a digital invitation to participate in the survey containing a link that would lead to the questionnaire generated by Google Docs. The questionnaire was composed of questions on demographic data, and two standardized instruments: the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire and the Perceived Stress Scale. The descriptive analysis was done by absolute and relative frequency. For the bivariate analysis, it was used the Fisher's Exact test. P values were reported for the linear trend test on associations between stress and pain.


Of the total number of eligible servants (n=717), 36.6% participated in the study. The spine was the most reported area of the body with pain symptoms in the last 12 months, and in the last seven days. The least prevalent region of pain was hips / thighs. It was observed that the greater the perceived stress, the greater was the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms. It was observed a statistically significant linear trend in almost all assessed anatomic regions.


There was a high prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms in the analyzed population, as well as a strong association between the perceived stress and the presence of these symptoms.

Musculoskeletal pain; Psychological stress; Universities; Workers

Sociedade Brasileira para o Estudo da Dor Av. Conselheiro Rodrigues Alves, 937 Cj2 - Vila Mariana, CEP: 04014-012, São Paulo, SP - Brasil, Telefones: , (55) 11 5904-2881/3959 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil