Social Isolation Among Latino Workers in Rural North Carolina: Exposure and Health Implications
Immigrant Latinos frequently experience social isolation in their receiving communities. This paper investigates the prevalence of social isolation among immigrant workers in a new settlement area and delineates the association between social isolation and physical and mental health outcomes. Interviews were conducted in Spanish with immigrant Latino manual workers (N = 743) in western North Carolina. The CES-D and the SF-12 questionnaires assessed health outcomes. A social isolation scale was used to assess degree of social isolation. Nearly 1 in 5 workers (19.5 %) reported the highest level of social isolation. Social isolation was associated with higher depressive symptoms and poorer physical and mental health, related to quality of life. Social isolation is a common experience among immigrant Latinos that may have negative implications for physical and mental health. Community outreach efforts to minimize experiences of isolation may be useful in protecting immigrant physical and mental health.
KeywordsLatino immigrant workers Social isolation Health
Grant sponsor: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Grant number: R01 OH009251.
Conflict of interest
None of the authors have conflicts of interest to disclose.
- 5.Passel J, Cohn D, Lopez MH. Census 2010: 50 million Latinos: Hispanics account for more than half of nation’s growth in past decade. Pew Hispanic Center March 24,2011. Available at http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/reports/140.pdf (Accessed May 22, 2012).
- 6.Gouveia L, Saenz R. Global forces and Latino population growth in the Midwest: a regional and subregional analysis. Great Plains Res. 2000;10(2):305–28.Google Scholar
- 10.Jensen L. New immigrant settlements in rural America: problems, prospects, and policies. Carsey Institute report, 2006. Available at: http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/publications/Report_Immigration.pdf (Accessed June 20, 2012).
- 11.Fennelly K. Prejudice toward immigrants in the Midwest. In: Massey SD, editor. New faces in new places: the changing geography of American immigration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation; 2008. p. 151–78.Google Scholar
- 25.Cartwright MS, Walker FO, Blocker JN, Schulz MR, Arcury TA, Grzywacz JG, Mora D, Chen H, Marin AJ, Quandt SA. The prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome in Latino poultry-processing workersand other Latino manual workers. J Occup Environ Med. 2012;54(2):198–201.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 26.Arcury TA, Grzywacz JG, Anderson AM, Mora DC, Carrillo L, Chen H, Quandt SA. Employer, use of personal protective equipment, and work safety climate: Latino poultry processing workers. Am J Ind Med 2012 July 27 doi: 10.1002/ajim.22101.
- 27.Schulz MR, Grzywacz JG, Chen H, Mora DC, Arcury TA, Marín A, Mirabelli MC, Quandt SA. Upper extremity disability in Latino poultry workers and Latinos employed in other manual work. Am J Ind Med 2012 July 27 doi: 10.1002/ajim.22100.
- 28.Kochhar R, Suro R, and Tafoya S. The new Latino south: the context and consequences of rapid population growth. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center. 2005. Available at: http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/50.pdf. (Accessed May 22, 2012).
- 29.Arcury TA, Quandt SA. Participant recruitment for qualitative research: a site-based approach to community research in complex societies. Hum Organ. 1999;58:128–33.Google Scholar
- 30.Gandek B, Ware JE, Aaronson NK, Apolone G, Bjorner JB, Brazier JE, Bullinger M, Kaasa S, Leplege A, Prieto L, Sullivan M. Cross validation of items selection and scoring for the SF-12 health survey in nine countries: results from the IQOLA project. J Clin Epidemiol. 1998;51(11):1171–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 35.Kandel W, Cromartie J. New patterns of Hispanic settlement in rural America 2004 DRR-99, Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- 36.Bauer M. Under siege: Life for low-income Latinos in the South. Southern poverty law center. 2009. Available at: http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UnderSiege.pdf (Accessed May 22, 2012).
- 37.Barry B. Social exclusion, social isolation and the distribution of income. CASE Paper 12. London, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics (1998).Google Scholar