NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Comparing active versus reactive adjustment modes among Hispanic and non-Hispanic workers.

Shtivelband S; Eggerth D; Flynn MA
Work, Stress, and Health 2013: Protecting and Promoting Total Worker Health(TM), The 10th International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health, May 16-19, 2013, Los Angeles, California. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2013 May; :1
The Latino population represents the largest minority group in the United States. By 2050, it is projected that approximately 29% of the U.S. population or 133 million people will be persons of Latino origin or Hispanic descent (Pew Hispanic Center, 2008). Unfortunately, a number of studies (Acrury & Quandt, 2007; Doug & Platner, 2004; Forst, Avila, Anozie, & Rubin, 2010; Loh & Richardson, 2004) suggest that Hispanic immigrant (HIW) suffer from greater injury and fatality rates compared to non-recent Hispanic immigrant workers (NRHW) and American-born workers (ABW). Supporting this claim, researchers have found differences in how HIW, ABW, and NRHW respond to occupational issues at work (Dai & Goodrum, 2011; Dong, Men, & Ringen, 2010; Goodrum & Dai, 2005; Orrenius & Zavodny, 2009; Richardson, 2005). More research needs to focus on developing interventions targeted at HIW that could reduce work-related injuries and fatalities (Brown, 2003). At present, training programs that were developed for ABW have been found to be inadequate, poorly translated, or failed to tackle the cultural, legal, and socio-economic realities of this group (Ahonen, Benevides, & Benach, 2007; McGlothlin et al., 2012). Indeed, various researchers have emphasized the importance of developing and disseminating effective (i.e., linguistically and culturally appropriate) occupational safety and health (OSH) training materials for this population (Brown, 2003; Brunette, 2005; O'Connor et al., 2005). Therefore, in the context of developing effective training programs for HIW, it may be important for researchers to understand the work experiences of this vulnerable population. One method to understand the work experiences of HIW is through the lens of a theoretical model. Recently, Eggerth and Flynn, (2012) successfully applied the theory of work adjustment (TWA; Lofquist & Dawis, 1984) to a sample of HIW. TWA is a robust, flexible, and reciprocal person-environment fit model that can be meaningfully applied to the work behaviors of individuals and organizations. According to TWA (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984) there are two key adjustment styles: (1) activeness; behavior to change the environment, and (2) reactiveness; behavior to change the self. A person who adopts an active adjustment mode may choose to speak with a supervisor when they see hazards at work; whereas, a person with a reactive adjustment mode may purchase their own personal protective equipment to promote safety. It is possible that the occupational health disparity of HIW may be explained, in part, by the adjustment mode (e.g., active, reactive) that these workers utilize on the job. For example, when faced with OSH issues at work, HIW may be more likely to change themselves to fit the environment. Building on the work of Eggerth and Flynn (2012), the purpose of this study is to examine potential differences in work adjustment strategies between HIW, NRHW, and ABW. It is believed that these differences may be useful in understanding the training needs and OSH disparities between these populations. Based on a thorough review of the literature the following two hypotheses are proposed: (1) There will be significant differences between recent Hispanic immigrant workers (HIW), non-recent Hispanic immigrant workers (NRHW), and American-born workers (ABW) regarding the work adjustment strategies that characterize their work experiences. (2) HIW will be significantly more likely than NRHW and ABW to utilize a reactive adjustment style. A total of 600 workers, 300 male and 300 female, were recruited for this study. Half of the sample was recruited from Cincinnati, Ohio, a new settlement, and half from Santa Fe, New Mexico, an old settlement. For each site, 100 individuals were selected to represent each demographic group (e.g., HIW, NRHW, ABW). To participate in this study, participants had to be 18 years or older. Participation was voluntary and all participants were treated in accordance with APA guidelines (American Psychological Association, 2002). In addition, this study was conducted with the approval of the NIOSH institutional review board. A one-way ANOVA will be run to compare group differences between HIW, NRHW, and ABW for active and reactive work adjustment modes. Site location, age, and gender will be considered during analysis as well. Should these comparisons be significant, follow-up t-tests will be conducted to better understand group differences. The findings from this study may help researchers and practitioners understand how each of these groups respond to OSH issues in the work environment. It is believed that understanding these group differences may be useful in addressing the training needs of these populations, especially HIW. For example, if HIW are more likely to utilize a reactive adjustment mode, it may be critical to develop OSH trainings that correspond with this approach. In conclusion, the results of this study may represent a meaningful first step in understanding and addressing the occupational health disparity of HIW.
Total-Worker-Health; Racial-factors; Mortality-rates; Injuries; Training
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Source Name
Work, Stress, and Health 2013: Protecting and Promoting Total Worker Health(TM), The 10th International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health, May 16-19, 2013, Los Angeles, California
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division