Original Paper

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 904-913

First online:

Musculoskeletal Injury, Functional Disability, and Health-Related Quality of Life in Aging Mexican Immigrant Farmworkers

  • M. M. WeigelAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)Human Immunology and Disease Research Laboratory, UTEP College of Health SciencesUTEP Center for Interdisciplinary Health Research and Evaluation, UTEP College of Health Sciences Email author 
  • , R. X. ArmijosAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)Human Immunology and Disease Research Laboratory, UTEP College of Health SciencesUTEP Center for Interdisciplinary Health Research and Evaluation, UTEP College of Health Sciences
  • , O. BeltranAffiliated withHuman Immunology and Disease Research Laboratory, UTEP College of Health SciencesInterdisciplinary Health Science Doctoral Program, UTEP College of Health Sciences and School of Nursing

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Abstract

Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are at high risk for musculoskeletal and other occupational injuries. Although persons aged 40–80 years account for 40 % of all US farmworkers and as many as 50 % in certain regions, little is known about their occupational health issues. The current study examined work-related persistent musculoskeletal injuries (PMIs) and their association with clinical and functional indicators of disability and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in 177 middle-aged and elderly US–Mexico border farmworkers. At interview, 68 % reported current PMI pain; 51 % had pain at multiple sites. PMI pain was associated with increased shoulder, knee, and lower extremity dysfunction and reduced HRQOL scores. However, fewer than 25 % of injured participants received any conventional medical treatment. The study results indicated that work-related PMIs, especially multiple PMIs, caused significant functional impairment, disability, and poorer HRQOL, adversely affecting the ability of the aging farmworkers to perform work, self-care, and other daily activities.

Keywords

Occupational health Musculoskeletal injuries Functional disability Health-related quality of life Aging Migrant and seasonal farmworkers Hispanic immigrants