Introduction Despite the high prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries, there is a shortage of data quantifying the risk factors attributable to cumulative occupational demands among UK Military personnel. We developed a new comprehensive questionnaire that examines occupational and operational physical loading during military service. The aim of this study was to examine the test–retest reliability of the Military Physical Loading Questionnaire (MPLQ).
Methods Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were used to evaluate the test–retest reliability (4-week interval) of the MPLQ on 18 occupational and 18 operational items in 50 male (mean age: 36 years; SD ±7.9) UK military personnel. A stratified analysis based on duration of Service (0–10 years, 11–20 years and ≥21 years) was conducted to assess whether stability of task items was dependent on participant length of recall. Internal consistency was assessed by Cronbach’s alpha (α) coefficients.
Results Reliability of individual operational items ranged from fair to almost perfect agreement (ICC range: 0.37–0.89; α range: 0.53–0.94) with most items demonstrating moderate to substantial reliability. Overall scores related to occupational items showed substantial to almost perfect agreement between administrations (ICC range: 0.73–0.94; α range: 0.84–0.96). Stratifying by duration of Service showed similar within group reliability to the entire sample and no pattern of decreasing or increasing reliability with length of recall period was observed.
Conclusions It is essential that data used in planning UK military policy and health services are as accurate as possible. This study provides preliminary support for the MPLQ as a reliable self-report instrument for assessing the cumulative lifelong effects of occupational loading in UK military personnel. Further validation studies using larger and more demographically diverse military populations will support its interpretation in future epidemiological research.
- occupational & industrial medicine
- preventive medicine
- rehabilitation medicine
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Contributors RJC designed the study, conducted the initial analysis, drafted the initial manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. All authors analysed and interpreted the findings. JLB, AKW and ANB supervised the conduct of the study, assisted with data analysis, reviewed and revised the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. RPC assisted with data collection and participant recruitment, drafted the initial manuscript with RJC and critically reviewed the final manuscript. TP and AMN reviewed and revised the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript as submitted.
Funding This study is funded by the Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise & Osteoarthritis Research (Grant Reference 20194).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval This study was approved by the UK Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee, approval code 651/MODREC/15 dated 18 Jul 2016.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Due to privacy concerns, some data regarding participants are available only to bona fide researchers working on a related project, subject to completion of a non-disclosure agreement. Access requests for any restricted data should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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