264320 Epidemiology of Job Control and Psychological Demand among Farmworkers: Evidence from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Joseph G. Grzywacz, PhD , Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Toni Alterman, PhD , Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
Rui Shen, PhD , Emergent Technologies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
Susan Gabbard, PhD , Aguirre Division, JBS International, Burlingame, CA
Daniel Carroll, BS , Office of Policy Development and Research, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC, DC
Introduction. Farmworkers, most of whom are immigrants from Mexico, are health disparate and vulnerable worker population. Previous farmworker research suggests that low job control and high psychological demand are associated with poor health outcomes, including potential exposure to pesticides. However, this research has been done on small, regional samples, so interpreting the potential implications of these findings for farmworkers more generally is challenging because a basic epidemiology of these occupational hazards has not been undertaken.

Method. Surveillance data of farmworkers exposure to work organization hazards, including levels of job control and psychological demand was obtained from a supplement to the 2009-2010 National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS).

Results. Over 15% of farmworkers were exposed to low job control (95% CI=14.3% 16.8%), while approximately 10% were exposed to elevated psychological demand (95% CI=8.8% - 10.9%). Farmworkers most at risk for low job control were those who spoke an indigenous language, those in the Eastern and Southeastern regions of the US, and those employed by a farm labor contractor. Farmworkers most at risk for high psychological demand were those without authorization to be in the US, and those in the Northwest and Southeast regions of the US.

Conclusion. Many farmworkers are exposed to work organization hazards that have been linked with several negative health outcomes both on the job and off. Purposeful attempts to minimize farmworkers' exposure to low job control and elevated psychological demand provide one opportunity to enhance the occupational health of this health disparate and vulnerable worker population.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this talk, the audience will be able to: Describe the prevalence of exposure among immigrant Latino farmworkers to key indicators of work organization (i.e., low decision latitude and high psychological demand) implicated in creating and exaggerating occupational health disparities. Identify specific groups of immigrant Latino farmworker most at risk for exposure to low decision latitude and high psychological demand.

Keywords: Workplace Stressors, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: none

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Grzywacz is nationally recognized for his research focused on immigrant Latino farmworkers. He directs several federally funded projects focused on the occupational health of immigrant workers, he has published over 50 papers focused on work organization hazards like low job control and high psychological demand, and he recently co-led a NIOSH sponsored writing group to summarize literature focused on the role of work organization hazards in occupational health disparities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.