High prevalence of fibromyalgia syndrome among Israeli nurses

Leonid Barski, Tali Shafat, Yafa Buskila, Howard Amital, Yauheni Makulin, Boris Shvarts, Alan Jotkowitz, Dan Buskila

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    OBJECTIVES: Stress has extensively been shown to trigger fibromyalgia syndrome (FM). Nursing is associated with high levels of stress. Our hypothesis was that nurses suffer from an increased prevalence of FM symptoms, and that these symptoms correlate with the levels of stress to which they are exposed in the course of their occupation. METHODS: The study was conducted as a targeted survey distributed to nursing staff in Soroka University Medical Centre, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Participants were asked to answer a questionnaire evaluating symptoms of FM, based on the current diagnostic criteria, which include the widespread pain index (WPI) and the symptom severity scale (SSS). Participants were further questioned regarding stressful experiences during their work and about post-traumatic symptoms as well as regarding work performance and motivation. RESULTS: 206 participants completed the study questionnaire (84.5% females and 15.5% males). Twenty (9.7%) participants of the sample fulfilled criteria for diagnosis of FM reaching rates among females and males of 10.9% and 3.1% respectively. The prevalence of FM in our study was related to age with the highest prevalence in the older age groups (p=0.012). FM symptoms were strongly correlated with work related stress and were strongly correlated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-related symptoms. Work-performance parameters did not show a significant correlation with FM parameters. CONCLUSIONS: FM is highly prevalent among nursing staff. Our findings point towards the possibility that work-related stress and traumatic events may play a major role in the development of FM symptoms among nurses. With aging this association is more significant.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-30
    Number of pages6
    JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Rheumatology
    • Immunology and Allergy
    • Immunology


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