Self-perceived musculoskeletal complaints: Relationship to time use in women homemakers in Hong Kong

Nai Kuen Fong, Clara Y.T. Law

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine patterns of time use and self-perceived musculoskeletal symptoms for women homemakers in Hong Kong using a cross-sectional survey. Methods: A total of 216 women were selected from a women's center and a selected district by trained volunteers for a single interview using convenience sampling; 63 respondents had paid work and 153 were full-time homemakers. The study included a surveillance of self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms for the past 12 months and a time use log to report respondents' daily activities retrospectively during a 24-h reference day. Results: Significant differences were found in the mean hours spent in paid work, outdoor activities, and passive leisure between respondents with paid and those with unpaid work (P = 0.000-0.021). Although the reported musculoskeletal problems were mostly mild to moderate, more than 60% of homemakers experienced at least one musculoskeletal symptom over the spine or upper or lower extremities in the 12 months prior to the survey. Homemakers were more likely to report discomfort in their upper back (OR = 2.70, 95% CI 1.27-5.71) and shoulder (OR = 3.50, 95% CI 1.21-10.19) while shopping; in their lower back (OR = 1.90, 95% CI 1.03-3.50), wrist (OR = 2.02, 95% CI 1.06-3.84), and hip (OR = 2.35, 95% CI 1.07-5.13) while washing utensils; and in their finger (OR = 1.45, 95% CI 1.03-2.03) and knee (OR = 1.84, 95% CI 1.19-2.82) during cleaning tasks. Conclusion: The results showed a high degree of musculoskeletal discomfort among women homemakers in Hong Kong. Modifying current participation in household chores like cleaning, washing utensils, and shopping is needed to reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal problems in this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008


  • Household chores
  • Self-perceived musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Time use
  • Unpaid work
  • Women homemakers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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