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
Immigration from Latin America to the United States experienced tremendous growth over the past 20 years and there are currently about 19 million Latino immigrants living in the United States today (Pew Hispanic, 2011). This growth has been accompanied by geographic expansion into non-traditional settlement areas such as the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States as immigration patterns responded to job opportunities in the service, construction and meat processing industries in these areas of the country (Pew, 2005, Striffler, 2007). This rapid and unanticipated growth in areas without bilingual infrastructure or a history of a Latino community presents unique challenges and opportunities for immigrants, employers and the communities at large (Pew, 2005). Although most immigrants from Latin America are authorized to be in the United States, increasing numbers of recent Latino immigrants are here without legal status. For example, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated that roughly 80% of Mexican immigrants coming to the United States in the last decade were undocumented (Passel & Cohn, 2008). The recent increase of Latino immigration has been accompanied by growing occupational health disparities for Latino immigrant workers. Latino immigrants to the U.S. have a workplace fatality rate of 5.9 per 100,000 person-years, which is almost half again as much as the rate for all workers (4.0) and even greater when compared to Latinos born in the United States (3.5) (CDC, 2008). The Pew Hispanic Center (2008) estimates that immigrants will make up roughly 23% of adults of working age in 2050, up from 15% in 2005. Occupational injury and illness currently represent one of the highest, health-related economic burdens in the United States. The direct and indirect cost of occupational injury and illness in the United States in 2007 was $250 billion, up from an inflation-adjusted $217 billion in 1992 (Leigh, 2011). If occupational safety and health (OSH) disparities are not reduced or eliminated for Latino immigrant workers these costs to society will increase as Latino immigrant participation in the workforce grows over time. Latino immigrants make up roughly 7% of the work force in the United States and are concentrated in four industry sectors: services 43%, warehousing 16%, construction 16%, and manufacturing 13% (Pew, 2009). Despite this, the majority of the limited research related to Latino immigrants has focused on the agricultural sector, which represents about 5% of the Latino immigrant workforce. Over the past ten years the construction sector has been increasingly represented in the literature and to a lesser degree meat and poultry processing plants (Smith-Nonini, 2002; Stuesse, 2009; Quandt, et al., 2006; Dong & Platner, 2004; Loh & Richardson, 2004). While research in these industry sectors should continue, it is imperative that additional research be conducted to ensure that the industries employing the majority of Latino immigrants are represented. NIOSH has recently completed data collection with a total of 600 workers. This sample was stratified by nativity (400 Latino immigrants and 200 American-born workers), gender (300 male and 300 female) and location (Cincinnati, Ohio, a new settlement area, and half from Santa Fe, New Mexico, an old settlement area). In addition, the Latino immigrant sample was stratified by time in the United States (= 2 years or = 5 years). In addition to general demographics, the questionnaire used in this data collection contained theory-driven items intended to access preferred coping strategies and styles of the participant groups. The first paper will discuss the development of the questionnaire items from initial consultations with community partners, through focus groups concerning general themes, and finally the process of the iterative cognitive testing process used to insure conceptual equivalence between the Spanish and English versions of the questionnaire. This is a process often overlooked in the development of parallel versions of a questionnaire in more than one language. The second paper will discuss the findings from the analysis of one of the theory-driven portions of the questionnaires. This section operationalized the Theory of Work Adjustment's constructs of active and reactive adjustment styles. An active adjustment style is typified by an individual attempting to modify the work environment to better meet the individual's preferences. A reactive adjustment style involves attempting to change one's own behaviors and expectations to better match the demands of the work environment. There are repeated suggestions in the literature that Latino immigrants are more likely to use a reactive adjustment style than American-born workers. However, this has never been pursued empirically. This paper will discuss findings and implications for occupational safety and health interventions. The third paper will discuss the findings from a section of the questionnaire devoted to risk perception and risk acceptance. Although the content of the many of the items are what might be expected by anyone familiar with the literature, considerable effort was made to culturally tailor this items to the work experiences of Latino immigrants. This paper will discuss findings and implications for occupational safety and health interventions.
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