Psychosocial variables may be important determinants of experienced back pain as well as dysfunction. This paper reports on differences on a battery of psychosocial variables between women, from the same work place, off work because of back pain, having only back pain (not off work), and those without back pain. The groups suffering pain had similar levels of pain intensity and frequency and the covariates of age and work load were used in MANCOVA analyses. The results showed significant overall differences on the Coping Strategies Questionnaire, Handicap Index, Duke Health Profile, as well as items concerning family support and the relation of pain to work. Several variables differed between the Healthy group on the one hand and the two groups suffering pain on the other hand. However, coping strategies and perceived health produced significant differences between all three groups in univariate analyses. Unlike other studies the Work APGAR produced no significant results. These data suggest that work status is not directly related to pain intensity, but rather to an interaction between psychosocial factors and the pain experience. Future research should delineate which variables may be used in screening.