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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UNMC: Exploring Gender Differences in Fatigue and Pain among Migrant Farmworkers

There are approximately 1.4 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the United States. They face many hardships in both their working and living environments including dangerous and demanding tasks, long hours, and inadequate rest. In a recent study  published in the current issue of Journal of Agromedicine,  Dr. Athena Ramos and colleagues from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, sought to explore gender differences in the reporting of fatigue and pain and to identify predictors of fatigue and pain among migrant farmworkers in Nebraska.

The study involved face-to-face interviews with 241 migrant farmworkers and found that there were moderate levels of fatigue and high levels of pain among migrant farmworkers even though most workers rated their health as good, very good, or excellent. The investigators found that women reported higher levels of fatigue and pain than their male counterparts; however, being female was only a significant predictor of fatigue, not pain. The authors indicate that this juxtaposition between reporting good health, fatigue, and pain may point to cultural notions of “hard work” and the embodiment of sufrimiento (having to suffer to survive), particularly for women.

Dr. Ramos concludes, “There are gender-related disparities in the reporting of fatigue and pain among Latino/a migrant farmworkers. Understanding factors associated with fatigue and pain is critical to developing relevant interventions to improve health and safety among migrant farmworkers, particularly gender-specific programming. Extra precautions need to be taken to protect worker health and safety and reduce fatigue, particularly for female workers.

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