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Factors associated with agricultural work performed by adolescents from an immigrant farm worker population (MICASA study).

Hennessy-Burt TE; Stoecklin-Marois MT; McCurdy SA; Schenker MB
J Agric Saf Health 2013 Jul; 19(3):163-173
While studies have looked at the relationship of adolescent employment with health outcomes and risk behaviors, few have focused on children of hired farm workers. These children face unique challenges affecting their health and work environment. Exploring the frequency and nature of agricultural work characteristics among adolescent children of Hispanic hired farm workers is important for assessing the potential risks they face. Methods: MICASA is a population-based study of settled immigrant Hispanic farm working families in Mendota, California. We selected a cross-sectional random sample of adolescents (ages 11 to 18). Interviews assessed work history, place of birth, and acculturation. Results: 38% of participants were female and 62% were male; 55% were born in the U.S., 38% in Mexico, and 7% in El Salvador; and 49% worked for pay during the last year. Among those who worked, farm work was most frequently reported (73.5%). Among those who had done farm work, the mean age at initiation was 14 years, and they worked a mean of 4.3 weeks during the previous year. Hoeing, picking, and packing/sorting were the most common tasks. In models adjusted for age and sex, low-acculturated adolescents were more likely than moderately acculturated to have worked in the past 12 months, to start work younger than age 14 years, and to do farm work. Significance: Farm work is common among adolescents in this Hispanic agricultural community and is strongly associated with foreign birth and low acculturation.
Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Families; Farmers; Racial-factors; Adolescents; Children; Age-factors; Age-groups; Behavior; Work-performance; Employees; Employee-health; Work-environment; Agricultural-processes; Sociological-factors; Work-analysis; Author Keywords: Agriculture; Child labor; Children; Employment; Farm workers; Latino; Teen-age Workers; Youth
Marc B. Schenker, Department of Public Health Sciences, UC-Davis School of Medicine, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Grant; Agriculture
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U54-OH-007550; Grant-Number-R01-OH-009293
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Performing Organization
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division