Prevalence and Predicting Factors of Chronic Pain among Workers of Petrochemical and Petroleum Refinery Plants

Maryam Shaygan, Maryam Yazdanpanah


Background: Taking into account the differences in job requirements and conditions, it is expected that workers in some occupations are more susceptible to pain than others.

Objective: To examine the prevalence of chronic pain among workers of several petrochemical and petroleum refinery plants. We also examined the predictive role of psycho-familial variables (depression, work-family conflict and job stress) in causing chronic pain when controlling for demographic and occupational factors.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out among 674 workers. Those with chronic pain were identified by affirmative answers to screening questions based on the ICD-11 criteria.

Results: There were 162 (24.0%; 95% CI 20.8% to 27.3%) workers meeting the ICD- 11 criteria for chronic pain. Headache was the most frequently reported pain (29.9%). We found a significantly (p=0.03) higher prevalence of pain among the middle age than in other age groups. Chronic pain more frequently affected divorced/widowed workers (p<0.001), and those with more work experience (p=0.04). Workers with chronic pain reported significantly higher levels of depression (p<0.001), job stress (p=0.007), and work-family conflict (p<0.001). After controlling for demographic and occupational factors, depression (p<0.001) and work-family conflict (p=0.003) were found to be independent predictors of chronic pain among studied workers.

Conclusion: Workers who experience higher levels of depression, work-family conflict and job stress might be more prone to chronic pain. The majority of these factors are modifiable, and the problem may thus be solved by establishing appropriate screening programs, and availability of proper services and education.


Chronic pain; Prevalence; Workers; Depression; Occupational stress; Family; Work place

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2020.1632

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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