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Job Control, Psychological Demand, and Farmworker Health: Evidence From the National Agricultural Workers Survey

Grzywacz, Joseph G. PhD; Alterman, Toni PhD; Gabbard, Susan PhD; Shen, Rui PhD; Nakamoto, Jorge PhD; Carroll, Daniel J. BSc; Muntaner, Carles PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 1 - p 66–71
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000025
Original Articles

Objective: Improve understanding of the potential occupational health impact of how agricultural jobs are organized. Exposure to low job control, high psychological demands, and high job strain were hypothesized to have greater risk for poor self-rated physical health and elevated depressive symptoms.

Methods: Cross-sectional data (N = 3691) obtained using the Work Organization and Psychosocial Factors module of the US National Agricultural Workers Survey fielded in 2009–2010.

Results: More than one fifth (22.4%) of farmworkers reported fair/poor health, and 8.7% reported elevated depressive symptoms. High psychological demand was associated with increased risk of fair/poor health (odds ratio, 1.73; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 2.2) and elevated depressive symptoms (odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.9 to 3.8).

Conclusions: The organization of work in field agriculture may pose risks for poor occupational health outcomes among a vulnerable worker population.

From the Department of Human Development and Family Science (Dr Grzywacz) and Center for Family Resilience (Dr Grzywacz), Oklahoma State University, Tulsa; Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluation, and Field Studies (Dr Alterman), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio; Aguirre Division (Drs Gabbard and Nakamoto), JBS International, Burlingame, Calif; Emergint Technologies (Dr Shen), Cincinnati, Ohio; Employment and Training Administration (Mr Carroll), US Department of Labor, Washington, DC; and Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing (Dr Muntaner), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Address correspondence to: Joseph G. Grzywacz, PhD, Department of Human Development and Family Science, Oklahoma State University, 700 N Greenwood Ave, Main Hall #2120, Tulsa, OK 74106 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine