The effects of work organization on the health of immigrant manual workers: A longitudinal analysis

Arch Environ Occup Health. 2016;71(2):66-73. doi: 10.1080/19338244.2014.955164. Epub 2014 Aug 26.


This analysis uses a longitudinal design to examine the associations of work organization and health outcomes among Latino manual workers. Participants included 247 Latino workers who completed baseline and 1-year follow-up interviews and clinical examinations. Health outcome measures were epicondylitis, rotator cuff syndrome, back pain, and depressive symptoms. Independent measures were measures of job demand, job control, and job support. Workers commonly experienced rotator cuff syndrome (6.5%), back pain (8.9%), and depressive symptoms (11.2%); fewer experienced epicondylitis (2.4%). Psychological demand was associated with rotator cuff syndrome; awkward position and decision latitude were associated with back pain. Decreased skill variety but increased decision latitude was associated with elevated depressive symptoms. Work context factors are important for health outcomes among vulnerable workers. Further research is needed to expand upon this work, particularly cultural perspectives on job support.

Keywords: Health disparity; immigrant health; immigrant workers; longitudinal study; minority health; occupational health; organization of work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Workplace / organization & administration*
  • Young Adult