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Comparative description of migrant farmworkers versus other students attending rural south Texas schools: substance use, work, and injuries.

Cooper SP; Weller NF; Fox EE; Cooper SR
J Rural Health 2005 Oct; 21(4):361-366
Little is known about substance use, work characteristics, and injuries of youth from migrant farmworker families. Some evidence suggests that migrant youth may be at greater risk for substance use and work-related injuries than nonmigrant youth. The aim of this study is to compare substance use, employment, and injury data from migrant and nonmigrant youth residing in rural South Texas. Anonymous cross-sectional survey data were collected from 7,302 middle and 3,565 high school students during a regular class. Classification as a migrant student occurred if the student responded positively to: "Does your family move around the state or nation to pick fruits or vegetables for work?" About 5% of South Texas middle and high school students reported belonging to a migrant family. Compared to nonmigrant students, migrant youth were more likely to report frequent substance use. Youth belonging to migrant families were less likely to work for pay on weekends but more likely to work for pay on weekday mornings before school. These youth were also more likely to have ever been injured while working than nonmigrant students. These results demonstrate a need for additional interventions in this most vulnerable rural population. Specifically, targeted educational programs to enhance the occupational safety and health of migrant youth, further research into effective substance abuse treatment and prevention programs in rural areas, and enhancement of child labor laws are recommended.
Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Injuries; Demographic-characteristics; Racial-factors; Substance-abuse; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Occupational-safety-programs; Occupational-health-programs; Safety-education; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Children
Sharon Cooper, Ph.D., Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health, 3000 Briarcrest, Suite 300, Bryan, TX 77802
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
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Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Source Name
The Journal of Rural Health
Performing Organization
University of Texas, Houston, Texas
Page last reviewed: August 5, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division