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Nontraditional work factors in farmworker adolescent populations: implications for health research and interventions.

Cooper SR; Cooper SP; Felknor SS; Santana VS; Fischer FM; Shipp EM; Vela Acosta MS
Public Health Rep 2005 Nov-Dec; 120(6):622-629
Agriculture has been documented to be one of the most hazardous work environments for both adults and children. Adolescents may be especially vulnerable to adverse health effects from agricultural exposures due to the rapid growth and development experienced during those years. Separating the occupational, economic, and social issues in this population is difficult. Weak regulatory protection, lack of compliance with existing regulations, and gaps in service provision characterize the working conditions of adolescent farmworkers. Although there is increasing research on the impact of work organization on mental and physical health in adult working populations, there is a scarcity of research focused on this concept in young workers--and it remains virtually unaddressed in young farmworkers. Work characteristics of the informal work sector, better delineated in international literature, should be considered when planning research or interventions in this at-risk population. Further, the population of adolescent farmworkers is diverse, and research strategies and interventions need to be targeted and tailored to the heterogeneous groups. This article addresses some of the nontraditional work factors associated with the less-than-formal work organization and environments in the farmworker adolescent population and how these factors may inform the planning of research and interventions. Specifically, mobility, cultural patterns and social networks, alternative sampling strategies, alternative delivery of health care and education, and involvement of a wide range of players in the work environment of adolescent farmworkers should all be considered when conducting research or planning programs for this population.
Workers; Worker-health; Farmers; Agriculture; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Occupational-hazards; Health-hazards; Hazards; Occupational-exposure; Demographic-characteristics; Age-groups; Age-factors
Sharon Cooper, PhD, Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health, 300 Briarcrest #300, Bryan, TX 77802
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Grant; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-004041; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U50-OH-007541
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Public Health Reports
Performing Organization
University of Texas, Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Houston, Texas
Page last reviewed: August 5, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division