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Mental health among the sugarcane industry farmers and non-farmers in Peru: a cross-sectional study on occupational health

Bazo-Alvarez, Juan Carlos; Bazalar-Palacios, Janina; Bazalar, Jahaira; Flores, Elaine C; (2022) Mental health among the sugarcane industry farmers and non-farmers in Peru: a cross-sectional study on occupational health. BMJ Open , 12 (11) , Article e064396. 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-064396. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: Describe the occupational characteristics of farmer and non-farmer workers and investigate critical occupational risk factors for mental disorders in sugarcane farmers in Peru. Method: We conducted a cross-sectional study with occupational health and safety focus among farmers and non-farmers. Mental disorder symptoms were evaluated through the local validated version of the 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). We explored the association between mental disorder symptoms, work conditions and known occupational risk factors (weekly working hours, pesticide exposures, heat stress and heavy workload). Negative binomial regression models were fitted, and 95% CIs were calculated. Results: We assessed 281 workers between December 2019 and February 2020. One hundred and six (37.7%) respondents identified themselves as farmworkers. The mean GHQ-12 scores for farmers and non-farmers were 3.1 and 1.3, respectively. In the fully adjusted multivariable model, mental disorder symptom counts among farmers were more than twice as high as those of non-farmers (β: 2.11; 95% CI: 1.48 to 3.01). The heavy workload increased the mean number of mental disorder symptoms by 68% (95% CI: 21% to 133%), and each additional working hour per day increased the mean number of mental disorder symptoms by 13% (95% CI: 1% to 25%). Conclusion: Farmers have higher mental disorder symptoms than non-farmers. A heavy workload and more working hours per day are independently associated with more mental disorder symptoms. Our findings highlight the importance of including mental health within occupational programmes and early interventions tailored to sugarcane industrial mill workers in the Latin American context.

Type: Article
Title: Mental health among the sugarcane industry farmers and non-farmers in Peru: a cross-sectional study on occupational health
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-064396
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-064396
Language: English
Additional information: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10159588
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