Effect of resiliency and age on musculoskeletal injuries and lost workdays in emergency medical service personnel

Jonathan Dropkin, Paul Power, Rehana Rasul, Jacqueline Moline, Hyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Emergency medical service (EMS) personnel are highly skilled health care professionals who often provide lifesaving clinical care to patients. Paradoxically, they may be repeatedly exposed to a unique set of occupational hazards that could endanger their own health. This cross-sectional study sought to examine the relation between resiliency and musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) and between resiliency and lost workdays due to MSIs, and explore whether age modifies these associations. Multivariable Poisson main effects regression models showed that resiliency had a protective effect against MSIs, but not lost workdays. In the unadjusted regression model to evaluate the relation between resiliency and age, results suggested that no differences in distributions existed between younger and older EMS personnel and resiliency. However, given the same unit increase in resiliency, findings from multivariable Poisson interaction regression models indicated that older workers had a higher prevalence of MSIs and lost workdays than younger workers. Results from main effects models may reflect diverging routes on a pathophysiological pathway, in which resiliency acts as a prognostic factor for MSIs but not lost workdays. Findings might also indicate the association between resiliency, and MSIs and lost workdays varies by age. Relevance to industry: The largest growth of labor in the US is expected to occur in the oldest segments of the population. While older workers may offer more experience and show similar resiliency to younger workers, they might be more vulnerable to individual risk factors and occupational exposures. If management wants to retain older workers as assets, they should design the work environment to match the capabilities of all workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Emergency medical services
  • Musculoskeletal injury
  • Older workers
  • Resiliency

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