COVID-19 Pandemic among Latinx Farmworker and Nonfarmworker Families in North Carolina: Knowledge, Risk Perceptions, and Preventive Behaviors

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 10;17(16):5786. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17165786.


(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic poses substantial threats to Latinx farmworkers and other immigrants in food production and processing. Classified as essential, such workers cannot shelter at home. Therefore, knowledge and preventive behaviors are important to reduce COVID-19 spread in the community. (2) Methods: Respondents for 67 families with at least one farmworker (FWF) and 38 comparable families with no farmworkers (nonFWF) in North Carolina completed a telephone survey in May 2020. The survey queried knowledge of COVID-19, perceptions of its severity, self-efficacy, and preventive behaviors. Detailed data were collected to document household members' social interaction and use of face coverings. (3) Results: Knowledge of COVID-19 and prevention methods was high in both groups, as was its perceived severity. NonFWF had higher self-efficacy for preventing infection. Both groups claimed to practice preventive behaviors, though FWF emphasized social avoidance and nonFWF emphasized personal hygiene. Detailed social interactions showed high rates of inter-personal contact at home, at work, and in the community with more mask use in nonFWF than FWF. (4) Conclusions: Despite high levels of knowledge and perceived severity for COVID-19, these immigrant families were engaged in frequent interpersonal contact that could expose community members and themselves to COVID-19.

Keywords: agricultural workers; coronavirus; health behavior model; structural vulnerability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / ethnology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Farmers*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice / ethnology*
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / ethnology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Self Efficacy
  • Trauma Severity Indices