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Recall of prior musculoskeletal pain.

Authors
Miranda-H; Gold-JE; Gore-R; Punnett-L
Source
Scand J Work, Environ & Health 2006 Aug; 32(4):294-299
NIOSHTIC No.
20041916
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Patients, as well as healthy people, often fail to remember prior symptoms, illnesses, or treatments. The authors investigated how well people in a workplace recalled their prior musculoskeletal pain and which factors influenced recall accuracy. METHODS: In this prospective study (1992-1998), among a cohort of automobile manufacturing workers (N=464), musculoskeletal pain reported at baseline was compared with recalled pain at follow-up. Two outcomes (ie, forgetting and over-recalling) were examined in relation to several personal and occupational characteristics. RESULTS: Of those who had experienced pain or discomfort in the upper extremities at baseline, 72% did not recall it 6 years later. Symptoms at the time of recall strongly influenced pain recall; forgetting approached 100% among those with no current or recent symptoms. However, forgetting was considerable even among those with current symptoms (45%). Prior pain status was over-recalled by 37% of those with upper-extremity pain at the time of recall, but only by 3% of those without symptoms. Women, those with history of an upper-extremity disorder or systemic disease, who were clinical cases or had more anatomical areas in pain at baseline forgot less often. Over-recalling was related to age, having current symptoms, or being a clinical case. The results were similar for low-back and knee pain. CONCLUSIONS: Prior musculoskeletal symptoms are poorly remembered after some years, and the recall is strongly influenced by current symptoms. Recalled information should not be relied upon when an epidemiologic case definition is being constructed or when an attempt is being made to describe the natural history of a disorder.
Keywords
Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Automotive-industry; Worker-health; Pain-tolerance; Medical-treatment; Mental-processes; Clinical-symptoms; Extremities; Body-regions; Epidemiology; Health-surveys; Author Keywords: epidemiology; memory; musculoskeletal symptoms; recall bias; self-reports; working population
Contact
Dr H Miranda, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Avenue, Lowell, MA, USA
CODEN
SWEHDO
Publication Date
20060801
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Helena_Miranda@uml.edu
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2006
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-003514
Issue of Publication
4
ISSN
0355-3140
Source Name
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
State
MA; PA
Performing Organization
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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