Work-related Violence in Informal and Formal Employment by Gender. A Case Study from Central America

Caryn A Turner, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Work-related violence (WRV) is poorly characterized in informal workers and in Central America. The main parts of this dissertation were (1) to identify the literature and measurement instruments (e.g., questionnaires) on gender issues in WRV and (2) to estimate the prevalence of WRV among Central American workers, both in informal and formal jobs and sex. Using data from the First Central American Survey of Working Conditions and Health (ECCTS by its Spanish acronym). Crude and adjusted prevalences of different types of WRV by job type (formal/informal) and sex were estimated using logistic regression models taking into account survey weights. Regarding the literature review, 46 articles were included, of which 18 targeted only women; 275 unique questions directly related to WRV were also identified. None of the questions was specifically designed to investigate the role of job type of sex on WRV. In relation to estimating the prevalence of WRV in Central America, verbal WRV (18.9%) was the most frequent type and the least frequent was sexual WRV (1.9%). In general the prevalence of WRV was higher in men than in women, although the differences were not large. Larger differences were found between formal and informal jobs with different patterns by sex: men with informal jobs and women with formal jobs had a higher overall WRV prevalence than their counterparts. By country, the prevalence of WRV was generally higher in the northern part of Central America (i.e., Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) than in the southern part (i.e., Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). Several demographics characteristics were associated with different types of WRV. Workers of multi-race background, those in a non-manual occupation and those working in the service sector usually had the highest WRV prevalence. The prevalence of WRV after taking into account those characteristics followed the same patterns as the unadjusted estimates. Few studies quantify WRV in occupations, except a few in healthcare workers, and almost no literature exist on workers in Central America. This study is the first to demonstrate the patterns of WRV by sex and job type, particularly among workers with informal jobs. More research on Central American workers is needed in order to better characterize and delineate the subtle differences, such as the similarities between male informal workers and female formal workers, found in this study.

Subject Area

Occupational safety

Recommended Citation

Turner, Caryn A, "Work-related Violence in Informal and Formal Employment by Gender. A Case Study from Central America" (2018). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10840775.