Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common cause of sick leave in Norway, and research shows that musculoskeletal disorders are increasing among adolescents. Such disorders during the early years of life may have health implications in adulthood. Long-term health and well-being are shown to be closely linked with the level of education and literacy. Health literacy is described as the individuals’ motivation and ability to access, understand, appraise and apply health information in ways that promote and maintain good health. Thus, addressing health literacy related to musculoskeletal health disorders from an early age may be a promising investment in health and well-being in adolescence as well as later in life. As most youths attend school, school is an important arena for developing and delivering health literacy interventions focusing on musculoskeletal health with school physiotherapists as relevant contributors. However, health literacy among adolescents is a relatively new field of research with limited previous evidence, and health literacy related to musculoskeletal disorders even more so. The MUSKHEL project will answer this knowledge gap by providing information that is imperative for the development of standardized research-based interventions but also has immediate value to practising school physiotherapists through increasing their understanding of adolescents’ musculoskeletal health literacy.
The MUSKHEL-study has a mixed methods design containing three substudies:
1) a scoping review to accumulate and synthesize available evidence of the literature on health literacy related to musculoskeletal disorders.
2) A cross-sectional cohort study aiming to identify variables associated with health literacy and musculoskeletal disorders and investigate the association between adolescents’ health literacy and musculoskeletal disorders.
3) A qualitative study consisting of individual interviews with representatives of the adolescents. The interviews will give a more comprehensive picture of the context of the adolescents' musculoskeletal health literacy strengths, limitations and needs.