Latino day laborers, social integration, and self-rated health

Kenneth C Steel, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: Evidence shows that social networks have an important relationship with health. Since literature reveals that Latino day laborers tend to be socially isolated and at- risk for various adverse health consequences, the relationship between the social integration and self-rated health of a sample of Houston-area Latino Day Laborers was analyzed by testing the hypothesis that greater social integration in the sample would result in better self-reported health. Methods: Secondary data analyses of survey questions from the Houston-area Project SHILO survey on Latin Immigrant Men's health (2008) were completed. As a measure of social integration, questions on the number of trusted relatives, friends and co-workers the sample possessed and the frequency with which they contacted these individuals were analyzed against a traditional assessment of self-rated health. A one-way analysis of variance and a logistic regression measured the significance of the relationship between social integration and self-rated health. Results: The one way analysis of variance revealed a significant difference in the number of friends in the social network between those with bad/so-so self-rated health and those with good/very-good/excellent self-rated health (F=5.76, df=1/317, p<.05). The results report that those respondents with bad/so-so self-rated health had a mean number of 3.1 trusted friends (SD=3.5) while those respondents with good/very good/excellent self-rated health had a lower mean number of 2.3 trusted friends (SD=2.8). The logistic regression indicated that the number of trusted friends negatively and significantly predicted on self-rated health (p=.01). For every additional friend in the trusted social network, individuals in this sample were 14% less likely to report good/very good/excellent health (odds ratio=.86). Conclusions: Although the hypothesis that greater social integration would result in better self-rated health was not confirmed by this study, these results help to reveal that other assumptions in the research of Latino day laborer social networks may not always hold true, and that a deeper and more comprehensive approach to social network research in Latino day laborers is necessary.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Social psychology|Latin American Studies|Public health|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Steel, Kenneth C, "Latino day laborers, social integration, and self-rated health" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1549843.