Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

DOI of Published Version


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The purpose of this study was to investigate the test-retest reliability of questionnaire items related to musculoskeletal symptoms and the reliability of specific job factors. The type of questionnaire items described in the present study have been used by several investigators to assess symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders and problematic job factors among workers from a variety of occupations. Employees at a plastics molding facility were asked to complete an initial symptom and jobs factors questionnaire and then complete an identical questionnaire either two or four weeks later. Of the 216 employees participating in the initial round, 99 (45.8%) agreed to participate in the retest portion of the study. The kappa coefficient was used to determine repeatability for categorical outcomes. The majority of the kappa coefficients for the 58 questionnaire items were above 0.50 but ranged between 0.13 and 1.00. The section of the questionnaire having the highest kappa coefficients was the section related to hand symptoms. Interval lengths of two and four weeks between the initial test and retest were found to be equally sufficient in terms of reliability. The results indicated that the symptom and job factors questionnaire is reliable for use in epidemiologic studies. Like all measurement instruments, the reliability of musculoskeletal questionnaires must be established before drawing conclusions from studies that employ the instrument.


Adult, Cumulative Trauma Disorders, Female, Human Engineering, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Musculoskeletal Diseases, Occupational Diseases, Occupational Health, Patient Participation, Questionnaires, Reproducibility of Results, Research, Risk Factors, Sensitivity and Specificity, Sex Distribution, Sustainability

Journal Article Version

Version of Record

Published Article/Book Citation

Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 17:9 (2002) pp.613-621. DOI:10.1080/10473220290095934.


Copyright © 2002. ACGIH®, Cincinnati, OH. Reprinted with permission.