270198 Associations between occupational stress factors and physical/mental well-being among African American and Latino faculty

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ruth E. Zambrana, PhD , Department of Women's Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Lisa Lapeyrouse, PhD , Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Background: Occupational stress is highly associated with decreases in faculty productivity, propensity to leave academia prior to tenure, and stress-related physical and mental health conditions. This study examined the associations among occupational stress (e.g. perceived discrimination), mentoring, physical and mental health outcomes and self-reported health status among African American (AA) and Latino faculty employed in research universities. Methods: Mixed-methods study used surveys with 52 AA and Latino participants (n=36 in-depth interviews) and (n=16 participants in focus groups). Data are reported for associations of occupational stressors (e.g. perceived discrimination), mentoring, coping strategies, physical and mental symptoms/conditions, and self-reported health status. Results: Respondents mean age is 41 years with approximately 2/3 married and 50% with children. Fewer than 25% of respondents felt that mentorship had been important in their career development. All respondents reported relatively high levels of perceived discrimination. Females were more likely than males to perceive discrimination; to report a more chronic conditions and stress-related physical symptoms, and to have higher depressive indicators. Mexican American faculty was more likely to report excellent to very good health than their African American counterparts were. Conclusions: Given the lack of diversity in higher education with AA and Latinos (7% and 4% respectively) faculty still considerably underrepresented, these findings can serve to shed light on academic stress factors that may contribute to low retention and less favorable health status for those in academic workplaces. There is a strong gap in the literature on the impact of academic workplace stress on underrepresented faculty.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1) to assess differences in demographic, family background and marriage and child patterns between African American, Mexican American and Puerto Rican faculty; 2) to describe academic stress factors (such as perceived discrimination and access to mentors) that may be associated with physical and mental well-being; and 3) identify coping strategies/self-care practices used to buffer the consequences of academic stress on health and mental well-being

Keywords: Occupational Health, Stress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator for this research project and I am responsible for all data collection and analysis.
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.