Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 1012–1018 | Cite as

Working Below Skill Level as Risk Factor for Distress Among Latin American Migrants Living in Germany: A Cross-Sectional Study

  • Bernarda Espinoza-CastroEmail author
  • Luis E. Vásquez Rueda
  • Rossana V. Mendoza Lopez
  • Katja Radon
Original Paper


About 84,710 Latin American migrants currently live in Germany. Knowledge about their work situation in relation to their skill level and its association with mental health is limited. Therefore, the aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of working below skill level and its association with the prevalence of distress in Latin Americans living in Germany. This cross-sectional study included a convenience sample of 282 Latin American migrants living in Germany. Participants were recruited by a short online (Facebook, personal contacts) or interview-based questionnaire from November 2015 to April 2016. Questions included skill level, job category (categorized by ISCO 2008 code), socio-demographics, violence at the workplace and distress. The latter was assessed by Goldberg’s General Health Questionnaire using a cut-off of 4/5. Descriptive statistics were followed by logistic regression analyses adjusting for potential confounders. About half of the study population reported symptoms of distress (45%). 63% of the population worked below skill level. 12-months prevalence of violence at the workplace was 14%. After adjustment, working below skill level was statistically significantly related to distress (odds ratio 2.80; 95% confidence interval 1.58–4.95). Working below skill level is common in Latin American migrants in Germany and may result in poor psychosocial well-being.


Latin American migrants Germany Working bellow skill level Distress 



This study was funded by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Exceed program, Center for International Health (CIH) and German Federal Ministry for International Cooperation and Development (BMZ). We thank the participants for their participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for International Health at Institute and Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental MedicineUniversity Hospital of LMU MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Center for Translational Research in OncologyInstituto do Câncer do Estado de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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