Online Program

Work organization and health among immigrant women: Latina manual workers in North Carolina

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Thomas A. Arcury, PhD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Joseph G. Grzywacz, PhD, Department of Human Development & Family Science, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, OK
Haiying Chen, MD, PhD, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Sara A. Quandt, PhD, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Immigrant and low income workers constitute a vulnerable population at significant risk for occupational injury and illness. Greater attention is being given to how the organization of work affects the health and safety of these workers. This analysis (1) delineates work organization attributes (physical demands, psychological demands, supervision) of full-time employed Latino woman manual workers, and (2) determines the associations of the work organization attributes with their physical health (number musculoskeletal symptoms), mental health (depressive symptoms; CES-D), and mental (MCS) and physical (PCS) health related quality-of-life (SF-12). Data are from a cross-sectional survey of Latino manual workers in western NC. 319 women (173 in poultry processing; 146 in other industries) completed interviews in 2009. About 41% of women reported no musculoskeletal symptoms, 42% reported 1 to 3 symptoms, and 16% reported 4 to 6 symptoms. The mean score for depression was 6.2 (SE=0.2). Mean MCS and PCS were 38.3 (SE=0.5) and 42.8(SE=0.3), respectively. Greater heavy load and awkward position were associated with more musculoskeletal and depressive symptoms, and worse MCS. Less skill variety, less job control, and greater psychological demands were associated with more musculoskeletal and depressive symptoms. Greater perceived supervisor's power and greater safety climate were associated with fewer depressive symptoms and better MCS. These associations remained significant in multivariate analyses in which personal characteristics (age, years in US, indigenous language, poultry processing versus other industry) were included. Work organization is an important correlate of health among vulnerable workers. Occupational safety policy must consider these factors.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List attributes within the organization of work Explain the importance of organization of work for occupational health Discuss how the organization of work affects the health of immigrant workers.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities, Immigrant Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research with immigrant worker communities, including immigrant farm workers, poultry processing workers, and construction workers, for over 15 years. I have authored or co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed papers on the occupational health of immigrant workers. I have developed occupational health and safety programs for immigrant workers.
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.