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Test-retest reliability of an upper-extremity discomfort questionnaire in an industrial population.

Franzblau A; Salerno DF; Armstrong TJ; Werner RA
Scand J Work Environ Health 1997 Aug; 23(4):299-307
The test/retest reliability of an upper extremity discomfort questionnaire was examined among industrial workers. A total of 148 spark plug and engine components manufacturing workers participated in both rounds one and two of the study. In both rounds, the workers completed a questionnaire concerning demographics, health, and upper extremity musculoskeletal disorder symptoms. In round one, the subjects also underwent physical examination, nerve conduction tests, and anthropometric measurement. The kappa coefficient was used to analyze agreement between rounds one and two. Good to excellent kappa coefficients, ranging from 0.56 to 1.00, were determined for medical history questions. Agreement concerning medical conditions varied from 86 to 100%. Only the prevalence of a history of surgery involving the neck or upper extremities differed significantly between the rounds. Agreement between the rounds was excellent for the presence or absence of neck, shoulder, or upper arm symptoms, with a kappa coefficient of 0.76. Good to excellent kappa values were found for other neck, shoulder, and upper arm symptom related questions. Elbow and forearm symptom questions yielded excellent kappa values, ranging from 0.75 to 0.86. Symptoms related to carpal tunnel syndrome exhibited excellent agreement, with kappa coefficients varying from 0.78 to 0.81. Although current discomfort was rated significantly worse in round two than in round one, the 30 day discomfort ratings were similar between the rounds. The kappa coefficients were highly variable when individual symptoms for each body region were tested. Based on multiple logistic regression analysis, confounders such as age, sex, seniority, and education did not affect agreement between the rounds. The authors conclude that the test/retest reliability of the upper extremity discomfort questionnaire is good to excellent. Thus, the questionnaire is appropriate for epidemiological study.
NIOSH Publication; NIOSH Grant; Humans; Industrial factory workers; Health surveys; Musculoskeletal system disorders; Occupational exposure; Questionnaires; Demographic characteristics; Clinical symptoms; Carpal tunnel syndrome; Musculoskeletal system; Repetitive work; Cumulative trauma disorders; Cumulative trauma; Hand injuries; Vitamins; Age factors; Ergonomics; Author Keywords: ergonomics; kappa coefficient; musculoskeletal disorders; reliability; surveillance
Dr A Franzblau, Occupational Health Program, Department of Environmental and Industrial Health, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029, USA
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Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
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University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division