Over-indebtedness and its association with the prevalence of back pain

Elke B. Ochsmann, Heiko Rueger, Stephan Letzel, Hans Drexler, Eva Muenster

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Over-indebtedness is an increasing phenomenon worldwide. Massive financial strain, as found in over-indebted persons, might influence the occurrence of back pain. In this explorative study we examined the prevalence of back pain in over-indebted persons in Germany for the first time ever and compared it to the prevalence of back pain in the German general population. Methods. A cross sectional study comprising 949 participants (52.6% women) was conducted to collect data on the point prevalence of back pain in an over-indebted collective. A representative sample of the German general population (N = 8318, 53.4% women) was used as non-indebted reference group. Results. The point prevalence of back pain was 80% in the over-indebted collective, compared to 20% in the general population. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the prevalence of back pain differed partially between the general population and the over-indebted collective. Being over-indebted was identified as an independent effect modifier and was associated with an eleven times increased probability to suffer from back pain (aOR: 10.92, 95%CI: 8.96-13.46). Conclusion. Until now, only little is known about the effects of intense financial strain like over-indebtedness on health. Our study suggests that over-indebted persons represent a risk group for back pain and that it might be sensible to take financial strain into account when taking a medical history on back pain. Over-indebtedness and private bankruptcy is of increasing importance in industrialized countries, therefore more research on the subject seems to be necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number451
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2009

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 110-04 Social Psychology, Industrial and Organisational Psychology


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