Work-related musculoskeletal symptoms reported by female flight attendants on long-haul flights

Hyeonkyeong Lee, Jo Ellen Wilbur, Karen M. Conrad, Dinkar Mokadam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Flight attendants working on long-haul international commercial airline operations exposed to ergonomie stressors are likely to experience work-related musculoskeletal symptoms (WMS). To date, however, no studies investigating the extent of WMS experienced by this specific population have been published. The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence and severity (frequency, duration, and intensity) of WMS experienced by female flight attendants working on long-haul international flights for one major airline. Methods: A cross-sectional, mailed survey was conducted with female flight attendants randomly selected from a union membership list. Inclusion criteria were female flight attendants who had worked at least one long-haul international flight in the prior 3 mo and had worked at least 75 flight hours in the prior month. A total of 185 eligible flight attendants returned completed questionnaires (63% response rate). WMS in nine body regions were measured by the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Symptom Survey. Results: The prevalence of WMS by body region ranged from 50% to 86%. Almost all (97%) of the flight attendants in this study experienced some level of WMS during the past year. The WMS tended to involve more than one body region, and the lower back was the most commonly affected body region. Discussion: Female flight attendants working on long-haul international flights at one major airline showed a high prevalence of WMS, suggesting the need for replication studies with other airlines and the need for investigation into the risk factors associated with this substantial problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1283-1287
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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