Online Program

Associations between work and health among Palestinian Arab women in Israel

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Elsa Bergström, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Nihaya Daoud, MPH, PhD, Department of Public Health, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 8410501, Israel
Vanja Berggren, PhD, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden, Lund, Sweden
Background/significance: Women working in their homes (homemakers) have been associated with poorer health compared to women in the workforce. Arab women in Israel are a vulnerable minority of low socioeconomic status (SES). Their participation in the workforce is low, yet increasing, and little is known about the possible effects on their health.

Objective/purpose: To compare among Arab women in Israel the health of homemakers with those in the workforce, and to examine the contribution of different factors to this association.

Methods: Data, obtained from a cross-sectional study, comprised a randomized sample of 381 women aged 30-70 years from the Arab minority in Israel. Work status was measured by being in the workforce or not, and health outcomes included: self-rated health (SRH), physical functioning, and chronic disease. The relationships between work and health were analyzed in logistic regression models while considering possible explanatory variables.

Results: Most women were homemakers and as such 46% had poor SRH compared to 20% in the workforce (p<0.001); 60% had limited physical functioning compared to 38% in the workforce (p<0.05); and 30% had a chronic disease compared to 13% in the workforce (p<0.05). Allowing for SES, measured as education and income, the associations between work and health became non-significant.

Discussion/conclusions: In this study, being outside the workforce was associated with poorer health, and this was explained by SES. More research investigating the protective effect of work is needed among Arab women, who are currently joining the workforce in increasing numbers.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe, in a non-Western context, the association between work and health of the Arab women in Israel. Demonstrate the contribution of possible explanatory factors to the association between work and health. Discuss policy implications of the study results, and how work can be a protective factor for women's health.

Keyword(s): Workforce, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm a lecturer and a researcher in public health. My research focuses on the social determinants of health among minority groups specifically women. The abstract that Elsa submitted is based on her thesis. I supervised Elsa with her thesis and we worked on the study design, data analysis and interpretation together and we co-author a paper on this topic.
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.