Back pain in migrant farmworker families and farmworker high school students from Starr County, Texas
Back symptoms are a major global public health problem with the lifetime prevalence ranging between 50-80%. Research suggests that work-related factors contribute to the occurrence of back pain in various industries. Despite the hazardous nature, strenuous tasks, and awkward postures associated with farm work, little is known about back injury and symptoms in farmworker adults and children. Research in the United States is particularly limited. This is a concern given the large proportion of migrant farmworkers in the United States without adequate access to healthcare as well as a substantial number of youth working in agriculture. The present study describes back symptoms and identifies work-related factors associated with back pain in migrant farmworker families and farmworker high school students from Starr County, TX. Two separate datasets were used from two cohort studies "Injury and Illness Surveillance in Migrant Farmworkers (MANOS)" (study A: n=267 families) and "South Texas Adolescent Rural Research Study (STARRS)" (study B: n=345). Descriptive and inferential statistics including multivariable logistic regression were used to identify work-related factors associated with back pain in each study. In migrant farmworker families, the prevalence of chronic back pain during the last migration season ranged from 9.5% among youngest children to 33.3% among mothers. Chronic back pain was significantly associated with increasing age; fairly bad/very bad quality of sleep while migrating; fewer than eight hours of sleep at home in Starr County, TX; depressive symptoms while migrating; self-provided water for washing hands/drinking; weeding at work; and exposure to pesticide drift/direct spray. Among farmworker adolescents, the prevalence of severe back symptoms was 15.7%. Severe back symptoms were significantly associated with being female; history of a prior accident/back injury; feeling tense, stressed, or anxious sometimes/often; lifting/carrying heavy objects not at work; current tobacco use; increasing lifetime number of migrant farmworker years; working with/around knives; and working on corn crops. Overall, results support that associations between work-related exposures and chronic back pain and severe back symptoms remain after controlling for the effect of non-work exposures in farmworker populations.
Public health|Occupational safety|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology
Shipp, Eva Monique, "Back pain in migrant farmworker families and farmworker high school students from Starr County, Texas" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3198335.