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Gender, both in terms of physiological sex difference and cultural socialization, has an effect on the experience of musculoskeletal pain and resulting work disability and rehabilitation outcomes. This review aims to review research on gender issues in work disability due to musculoskeletal pain and to develop theories and tools around these issues to build a framework for greater understanding. Research literature was searched from the early 1950s forward, including 31 qualitative and quantitative articles in French or English that met basic methodological quality requirements and that focused on pain, disability and gender. Factors associated with gender, such as sociocultural and psychosocial factors, were also analyzed. Results uncovered key issues including distrust, self-identity, sociocultural roles and domestic strain as significant considerations in disability and return to work. Although these results are preliminary, they suggest that gender differences in disability and rehabilitation are most clearly present in work and family life and should be considered as potential risk factors that may impact work outcomes for people with musculoskeletal pain. Further research is needed.

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