Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 487–492 | Cite as

Musicians’ illness perceptions of musculoskeletal complaints

  • Laura M. Kok
  • Theodora P. M. Vliet Vlieland
  • Marta Fiocco
  • Ad A. Kaptein
  • Rob G. H. H. Nelissen
Original Article


The purpose of this study is to know the views of people about their illness, i.e., illness perceptions, determine coping strategies, and outcome. Previous research suggests a higher prevalence and a different perception of musculoskeletal complaints between musicians and nonmusicians. The aim of this study is to compare illness perceptions related to musculoskeletal complaints between musicians and nonmusicians. In this cross-sectional study, students from three music academies (n = 345) and one university medical center (n = 2,870) in the Netherlands received an electronic questionnaire concerning questions on sociodemographic characteristics, use of musical instruments, occurrence and characteristics of musculoskeletal complaints in the past year, and the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (B-IPQ). Baseline and B-IPQ scores were compared between the samples by means of t tests, chi-square tests, and regression models to adjust for differences in sociodemographic characteristics. Eighty-three music academy students and 494 medical students completed the questionnaire (response rates, 25.5 and 17.6 %, respectively). Seventy-four (89 %) persons in the musician group and 382 (78 %) persons in the nonmusician group reported occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints during the last 12 months. Adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, the B-IPQ scores of the domains consequences (my illness is a serious condition), concern (I am extremely concerned about my illness), and emotions (my illness makes me scared) were significantly higher among musicians, whereas personal control (there is little I can do to improve my illness), identity (number of symptoms patient sees as part of illness) were not significantly different. Music academy students had a significant more positive score on treatment control. Music academy students report more negative perceptions of their musculoskeletal complaints compared to medical students. Although some selection bias is present, this is supposed to have a minor effect on the outcomes of this study. Addressing illness perceptions in musicians with musculoskeletal complaints could have beneficial effects on physical and functional outcomes.


Illness perception Musculoskeletal Musician Occupational 





  1. 1.
    Woolf AD, Akesson K (2007) Can we reduce the burden of musculoskeletal conditions? The European action towards better musculoskeletal health. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 21(1):1–3PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Roach KE, Martinez MA, Anderson N (1994) Musculoskeletal pain in student instrumentalists: a comparison with the general student population. MPPA 9(4):125–130Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fry HJH, Ross P, Rutherford M (1988) Music-related overuse. MPPA 3(4):133–134Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kok LM, Vlieland TPM, Fiocco M, Nelissen RGHH (2013) A comparative study on the prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints among musicians and non-musicians. BMC Musculoskeletal Disord. doi: 10.1186/1471-2472-14-9
  5. 5.
    Caldron PH, Calabrese LH, Clough JD et al (1986) A survey of musculoskeletal problems encountered in high-level musicians. MPPA 1(4):136–139Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Middlestadt SE, Fishbein M (1989) The prevalence of severe musculoskeletal problems among male and female symphony orchestra string players. MPPA 4(1):41–48Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lederman RJ (2003) Neuromuscular and musculoskeletal problems in instrumental musicians. Muscle Nerve 27(5):549–561PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zaza C (1998) Playing-related musculoskeletal disorders in musicians: a systematic review of incidence and prevalence. CMAJ 158(8):1019–1025PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hoppmann RA, Reid RR (1995) Musculoskeletal problems of performing artists. Curr Opin Rheumatol 7(2):147–150PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Daleboudt GM, Broadbent E, Berger SP et al (2011) Illness perceptions in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and proliferative lupus nephritis. Lupus 20(3):290–298PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Aalto AM, Heijmans M, Weinman J et al (2005) Illness perceptions in coronary heart disease. Sociodemographic, illness-related, and psychosocial correlates. J Psychosom Res 58(5):393–402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Petrie KJ, Cameron LD, Ellis CJ et al (2002) Changing illness perceptions after myocardial infarction: an early intervention randomized controlled trial. Psychosom Med 64(4):580–586PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Leventhal H, Nerenz DR, Steele DJ (2012) Illness representations and coping with health threats. In: Baum A, Taylor SE, Singer JE (eds) Handbook of psychology and health, volume IV: social psychological aspects of health. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 219–252Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Scharloo M, Kaptein AA, Weinman J et al (2000) Patients’ illness perceptions and coping as predictors of functional status in psoriasis: a 1-year follow-up. Br J Dermatol 142(5):899–907PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Frostholm L, Oernboel E, Christensen KS et al (2007) Do illness perceptions predict health outcomes in primary care patients? A 2-year follow-up study. J Psychosom Res 62(2):129–138PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Foster NE, Bishop A, Thomas E et al (2008) Illness perceptions of low back pain patients in primary care: what are they, do they change and are they associated with outcome? Pain 136(1–2):177–187PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Van Wilgen CP, Kaptein AA, Brink MS (2010) Illness perceptions and mood states are associated with injury-related outcomes in athletes. Disabil Rehabil 32(19):1576–1585PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Groarke A, Curtis R, Coughlan R et al (2004) The role of perceived and actual disease status in adjustment to rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford) 43(9):1142–1149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Moss-Morris R, Chalder T (2003) Illness perceptions and levels of disability in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. J Psychosom Res 55(4):305–308PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hoving JL, van der Meer M, Volkova AY et al (2010) Illness perceptions and work participation: a systematic review. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 83(6):595–605PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Amadio PC, Russotti GM (1990) Evaluation and treatment of hand and wrist disorders in musicians. Hand Clin 6(3):405–416PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Brandfonbrener AG (2006) Special issues in the medical assessment of musicians. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am 17(4):747–753PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Heinan M (2008) A review of the unique injuries sustained by musicians. JAAPA 21 (4):45–6, 48, 50Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Broadbent E, Petrie KJ, Main J et al (2006) The brief illness perception questionnaire. J Psychosom Res 60(6):631–637PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ross S, Von FM, Cleland J (2011) Medical students’ illness-related cognitions. Med Educ 45(12):1241–1250PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Asch DA, Jedrziewski MK, Christakis NA (1997) Response rates to mail surveys published in medical journals. J Clin Epidemiol 50(10):1129–1136PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Picavet HS, Schouten JS (2003) Musculoskeletal pain in the Netherlands: prevalences, consequences and risk groups, the DMC(3)-study. Pain 102(1–2):167–178PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sluiter JK, Frings-Dresen MH (2008) Quality of life and illness perception in working and sick-listed chronic RSI patients. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 81(4):495–501PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kaptein AA, Scharloo M, Fischer MJ et al (2008) Illness perceptions and COPD: an emerging field for COPD patient management. J Asthma 45(8):625–629PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Dommerholt J (2009) Performing arts medicine—instrumentalist musicians part I—general considerations. J Bodyw Mov Ther 13(4):311–319PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Guptill C (2011) The lived experience of working as a musician with an injury. Work 40(3):269–280PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Goodman D, Morrissey S, Graham D et al (2005) Illness representations of systemic lupus erythematosus. Qual Health Res 15(5):606–619PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ronnberg K, Lind B, Zoega B et al (2007) Patients’ satisfaction with provided care/information and expectations on clinical outcome after lumbar disc herniation surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 32(2):256–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Nilsdotter AK, Toksvig-Larsen S, Roos EM (2009) Knee arthroplasty: are patients’ expectations fulfilled? A prospective study of pain and function in 102 patients with 5-year follow-up. Acta Orthop 80(1):55–61PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.

Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura M. Kok
    • 1
  • Theodora P. M. Vliet Vlieland
    • 1
  • Marta Fiocco
    • 2
  • Ad A. Kaptein
    • 3
  • Rob G. H. H. Nelissen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenNetherlands
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenNetherlands
  3. 3.Department of Medical PsychologyLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenNetherlands

Personalised recommendations