Mental Health Among Latina Farmworkers and Other Employed Latinas in North Carolina

Rural Ment Health. 2018 Apr;42(2):89-101. doi: 10.1037/rmh0000091. Epub 2018 May 21.


The mental health of Latinas with manual occupations, particularly those employed in agriculture, is a public health concern. The goals of this analysis were to describe the mental health of Latina farmworkers, and to compare their mental health with that of other Latina manual workers. Participants included 35 employed Latina farmworkers, 35 employed non-farmworkers, and 25 unemployed non-farmworkers who completed interviews in 2012. Measures included stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, elevated depressive symptoms, and risk for alcohol dependence. Farmworkers had greater stress and anxiety than did employed and unemployed non-farmworkers. Employed Latinas, whether farmworkers or in other occupations, had greater stress and anxiety than unemployed Latinas. Depressive symptoms, although high, did not differ significantly by occupation and employment. Few were at risk for alcohol dependence. Concrete steps are needed to address the mental health of Latina farmworkers, and to continue documentation of mental health concerns and their causes in this population.

Keywords: health disparities; immigrant health; mental health; minority health; occupational health; organization of work; women’s health.