Introduction: Pain is known to have a high impact on work performance, but there are several confounding factors, such as stress and mental issues. Little is known about the impact of pain severity on work performance when adjusted for such confounding factors. The aim of this study was to identify the effect of pain severity on absence from work (absenteeism) and reduced performance (presenteeism). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among full-time workers at an industrial manufacturing company in Japan. Participants were assessed using a self-reported questionnaire, including work performance evaluations, pain characteristics, pain-related fear, psychological distress, stress at the workplace and home, workaholism, and self-awareness. Principal component analysis was utilized to decrease the dimensions of the measures, and orthogonal rotation was performed on identified components with an eigenvalue > 1.0. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the association between pain severity and absenteeism and presenteeism, and were adjusted for confounding factors. We also analyzed the association between pain intensity and presenteeism using multivariable logistic regression analyses. Results: A total of 349 workers participated in the study. Six principal components were identified as confounding factors: work stress, regulation, mental instability, less support, home stress, and life dissatisfaction. Multivariable logistic regression analyses showed significant associations of moderate to severe pain with absenteeism (p = 0.02) and low and high presenteeism (p = 0.004 and 0.009, respectively), adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, short sleep, and the six principal components. Pain intensity was also significantly associated with low and high presenteeism (p = 0.002 and 0.014, respectively) in people with pain. Conclusions: Pain severity is a risk factor for absenteeism and presenteeism, even if workers have comorbid psychological stress or mental health problems.
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