The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5176.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 3:15 PM

Abstract #53868

Immigrant farmworkers’ use of self-protective methods to minimize pesticide exposure: Indirect effects of occupational dependency on farmwork

Genevieve F. Dunton, MA and Elaine Vaughan, PhD. Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, Social Ecology Bldg I, Rm 209, Irvine, CA 92697, 949-823-1838,

Despite information about the link between pesticide exposure and negative health outcomes, hundreds of thousands of agricultural laborers suffer from pesticide-related ailments each season. For the most part, these diseases can be prevented through self-initiated behaviors such as wearing protective gear and washing residue from clothing. Using the Precaution Adoption Process (PAP) as a model, this study examined how varying levels of occupational dependency on farmwork may indirectly affect self-protective behavior in a sample of 386 immigrant agricultural workers in California. Initial analyses revealed that 32.9% of the workers had no knowledge of self-protective methods and 50.8% never used any methods of protection from pesticides. Occupational dependency on farmwork was negatively associated protection knowledge (b = -.57, p < .001), pesticide information (b = -.38, p < .001), pesticide exposure (b = -.13, p < .05) and perceived effectiveness of precautionary methods (b = -.18, p < .05). Consequently, occupational dependency on farmwork was indirectly related to self-protective behavior (b = -.42, p < .05). The final structural equation model had reasonably good fit, Satorra-Bentler c2(82, N =386) = 119.95, p <.001, comparative fit index (CFI) = .947. These findings suggest that laborers who are more financially and occupationally dependent on farmwork may have a higher risk for pesticide-related disease than laborers who have other employment options. Educational and policy efforts to promote self-protective behaviors in this population should focus on providing basic information about pesticide risks, boosting laborers’ confidence in effectiveness of precautionary measures, and creating a compensation structure that emphasizes safety over productivity.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Behavior Based Safety, Migrant Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Farmworkers: Pesticides and Other Hazards

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA