OBJECTIVES: To describe the occurrence of kinesiophobia and to investigate the association between kinesiphobia and pain variables, physical exercise measures and psychological characteristics in patients with musculoskeletal pain. DESIGN: A prospective descriptive study involving 2 selected physiotherapy departments within a primary healthcare setting in the south-west of Sweden. PATIENTS: Included were 140 of 369 (38%) consecutive patients (aged between 18 and 65 years) with musculoskeletal pain. METHODS: Questionnaires including background data, pain variables, physical exercise measures and psychological characteristics were sent to the patients prior to their appointment with the physiotherapist. A simple and a multiple logistic regression model were performed to identify associations among the variables where kinesiophobia was defined as the dependent variable. RESULTS: A high degree of kinesiophobia and psychological distress were observed in approximately 50% of the responders. According to the simple logistic regression analysis the factors that seemed to be associated with kinesiophobia were interference, disability, pain severity, pain intensity, life control, affective distress, depressed mood and solicitous response. The multiple logistic regression analysis showed no significant associations. CONCLUSION: Kinesiophobia is a commonly seen factor among patients with musculoskeletal pain, which ought to be taken into consideration when designing and performing rehabilitation programmes.