Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Nursing and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research article

Life values as predictors of pain, disability and sick leave among Swedish registered nurses: a longitudinal study

Annika Nilsson12*, Eva Denison13 and Per Lindberg4

  • * Corresponding author: Annika Nilsson

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

2 Department of Health and Caring Sciences, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden

3 Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden

4 Department of Psychology Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Nursing 2011, 10:17  doi:10.1186/1472-6955-10-17

Published: 29 September 2011



Prospective studies on high-risk populations, such as subgroups of health care staff, are limited, especially prospective studies among staff not on sick-leave. This paper is a report of a longitudinal study conducted to describe and compare the importance and consistency of life domains among registered nurses (RNs) working in a Swedish hospital and evaluate a model based on the consistency of valued life domains for prediction of pain, disability and sick leave.


Importance and consistency ratings of life values, in 9 domains, were collected during 2003 and 2006 from 196 RNs using the Valued Living Questionnaire (VLQ). Logistic regression analyses were used for prediction of pain, disability and sick leave at the three-year follow-up. The predictors family relations, marriage couples/intimate relations, parenting, friends/social life, work, education, leisure time, psychological well-being, and physical self-care were used at baseline.


RNs rated life values regarding parenting as most important and with the highest consistency both at baseline and at follow-up. No significant differences were found between RNs' ratings of importance and consistency over the three-year period, except for friends/social relations that revealed a significant decrease in importance at follow-up. The explanatory models for pain, disability and sick leave significantly predicted pain and disability at follow-up. The odds of having pain were significantly increased by one consistency rating (psychological well-being), while the odds were significantly decreased by physical self-care. In the model predicting disability, consistency in psychological well-being and education significantly increased the odds of being disabled, while consistency in physical self-care significantly decreased the odds.


The results suggest that there might be a link between intra-individual factors reflecting different aspects of appraised life values and musculoskeletal pain (MSP).