APH 2002, 60, 153-172:

Exposure measurement technique and its effect on the association of physical load and back disorders.

JP. Jansen and A. Burdorf

Keywords: epidemiology, lifting, meta-regression, postural load, review

In epidemiologic studies on low back disorders measurement techniques for physical load can be classified into self-reports, observations, and direct measurements.  The choice for a particular measurement technique depends on appreciation of the applicability in various situations.  The aim of the present paper is to review the scientific literature on workrelated back disorders in order to evaluate the strength of the associations between physical load and back problems among different studies, and, second, to analyse whether the strength of the associations can partly be explained by the measurement strategy chosen.  Forty-three publications were selected with quantitative information on physical load and back disorders.  The analysis showed that the strength of association is, next to the work-related risk factor studied, partly explained by independent effects caused by the measurement technique and study design.  Observations and direct measurements are less prone to information bias and, hence, will result in a better assessement of the true effect.