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Keywords:

  • mediating variables;
  • Mexican farm workers;
  • nervios

An examination of nervios among Mexican seasonal farm workers

The purpose of this exploratory descriptive study was to examine a process model of the nervios experience of 30 Mexican seasonal farm workers. Focused interviews were conducted in Spanish to determine the workers’ perspectives on their experiences of nervios while residing in rural, southwest Ontario. Data for analysis originated from variables created to represent key themes that had emerged from open coding of the interviews. Simultaneous entry, multiple regression analyses revealed that provocation, control salience, and cognitive sensory motor distress directly explained 67.2% of the variation in worker expressions of negative affectivity. The combination fear, feeling trapped, and giving in mediated the relationship of provocation, control salience and cognitive sensory motor distress to expressions of negative affectivity (R2 = 88.1%). Control salience and its dampening effect on other elements of the nervios experience, however, appeared to be key to whether subjects experienced negative reactions to being provoked or distressed. This evidence points to nervios being a powerful, holistic idiom of distress with at least six variables contributing to its affective negativity. This information is important to our understanding of how nervios unfolds and for accurate specification of a nervios model for clinical practice and research. It also sets the stage for improved therapeutic alliances with nervios sufferers, and social action to reduce factors that provoke nervios.