Background Musculoskeletal problems and mental health problems are the commonest occupational health problems in the world today. Chronic musculoskeletal problems were found to be highly prevalent among female teachers and this was identified as a commonest cause of sickness absence of teachers in Sri Lanka. It has been reported that these teachers are commonly complaining musculoskeletal pain in multiple sites of the body. According to the latest studies, reporting chronic musculoskeletal pain is associated with job stress and other mental health disorders. However these problems have not been studied systematically among Sri Lankan teachers.
Objectives This research was carried out to identify the prevalence of CWP and its association with burnout among the female primary school teachers in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka.
Methods Six hundred and sixty female primary school teachers employed in the southern province of Sri Lanka were selected for the study using a multi-stage cluster sampling method. Data was collected on chronic musculoskeletal pains which persist for a period of three months or more during the last 12 months, using a structured self administered questionnaire with body manikins. A criterion given in the “Manchester Definition” for CWP was used for the identification of CWP. Burnout was identified using the validated Sinhala translation of Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey, which was specifically developed to identify the burnout of teachers.
Results Out of the 660 selected teachers, 640 female primary school teachers completed the questionnaires with a non-response rate of 3.03%. Majority (62.1%) were older than 40 years of age and 56.1% had worked more than 10 years as a teacher. 10.2% of teachers were found to have CWP. Age above 40 years, residing more than 10 kilometers away from school, having more than 30 pupils in the class and engage in extracurricular activities in the school after the working hours were significantly associated (p<0.05) with the CWP of teachers. CWP was significantly (p<0.001) associated with burnout. However, CWP was not associated with ethnicity, marital status or with social class.
Conclusions A high proportion of teachers had reported CWP and it was significantly more common among the teachers with burnout compared to the teachers without burnout.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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