Musculoskeletal and neurological injuries associated with work organization among immigrant latino women manual workers in North Carolina

Authors

  • Thomas A. Arcury PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    • Correspondence to: Thomas A. Arcury, PhD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1084. E-mail: tarcury@wakehealth.edu

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  • Michael S. Cartwright MD, MS,

    1. Department of Neurology, Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Haiying Chen MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Division of Public Health Sciences, Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Daryl A. Rosenbaum MD,

    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Francis O. Walker MD,

    1. Department of Neurology, Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Dana C. Mora MPH,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Sara A. Quandt PhD

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

Abstract

Background

This analysis examines the associations of work organization attributes among Latino women in manual occupations with musculoskeletal and neurological injuries.

Methods

Participants included 234 women in western North Carolina. Outcome measures included epicondylitis, rotator cuff syndrome, back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Independent measures included indicators of job demand, job control, and job support, as well as personal characteristics.

Results

Latina workers commonly experienced epicondylitis, rotator cuff syndrome, back pain, and CTS. Awkward posture and decision latitude were associated with epicondylitis. Rotator cuff syndrome was associated with awkward posture and psychological demand. Awkward posture and psychological demand, and decreased skill variety and job control were related to CTS.

Conclusions

Work organization factors are potentially important for musculoskeletal and neurological injury among vulnerable workers. Research is required to understand the associations of work and health outcomes of these women. Policy initiatives need to consider how work organization affects health. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:468–475, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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