PLAYING-RELATED MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS AMONG MUSIC STUDENTS IN EUROPE
Background and aims: The achievement and improvement of musical competences and technical abilities to reach the highest levels of performance may expose music students to a wide range of playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs). The main aim of the present thesis was to longitudinally identify the factors associated with increased risk of PRMD onset among music students enrolled in different pan-European music institutions. Further goals were to determine the prevalence and incidence of PRMDs amongst music students during their training, as well as to describe and characterise the study population. Methods: 850 students from 56 European conservatories and music universities completed a web-based questionnaire on lifestyle and physical activity participation levels, musical practice habits, behaviours toward prevention, health history and PRMDs, as well as psychological distress, perfectionism and fatigue. The onset of PRMDs was assessed prospectively at 6 and 12 months. Results: At baseline, 560 participants (65.0%) self-reported a positive history of MSK complaints in the previous 12 months, 408 (48.0%) of whom self-reported PRMDs. Self-reported PRMDs were significantly associated with coming from West Europe (RRR=4.524; RRR>1), being a first- or a second-year Masters student (RRR=2.747; RRR>1), having more years of experience (RRR=1.040; RRR>1) and higher rates of perceived exertion after 45 minutes of practice without breaks (RRR=1.044; RRR>1). The incidences of PRMD onset at 6 and 12 months were 28.8% and 49.0%, respectively. Longitudinally, changes in physical activity level (both increase and decrease; 6-month AOR=2.343, 12-month-AOR=2.346; AOR>1), increased levels of fatigue (6-month AOR=1.084, 12-month-AOR=1.081; AOR>1) and increased level of socially-prescribed perfectionism (6-month AOR=1.102; AOR>1) were significantly associated with PRMD onset. The presence of MSK complaints at baseline (6-month AOR=0.145, 12-month-AOR=0.441; AOR<1), as well as changes to BMI and to levels of psychological distress (12-month AOR=0.663 and 0.914, respectively; AOR<1) retarded the onset of PRMDs. Conclusions: Cross-sectional and longitudinal findings showing high prevalence and incidence of PRMDs amongst music students, have been critically appraised as potential correlates, determinants and factors in the development of PRMDs. The findings offer contextualisation for revisiting contemporary evidence-based preventive strategies and optimisation of tailor-made interventions aimed at minimising the impact of PRMDs.