Invisible work, unseen hazards: the health of women immigrant household service workers in Spain

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Title: Invisible work, unseen hazards: the health of women immigrant household service workers in Spain
Authors: Ahonen, Emily Q. | López Jacob, María José | Vázquez Navarrete, María Luisa | Porthé, Victoria | Gil-González, Diana | García García, Ana María | Ruiz Frutos, Carlos | Benach de Rovira, Joan | García Benavides, Fernando
Research Group/s: Salud Pública
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Enfermería Comunitaria, Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública e Historia de la Ciencia
Keywords: Immigrant | Migrant | Household service | Occupational health | Psychosocial hazards | Ergonomic hazards | Environmental hazards | Wellbeing
Knowledge Area: Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública
Issue Date: 28-May-2009
Publisher: Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Citation: AHONEN, Emily Q., et al. "Invisible work, unseen hazards: the health of women immigrant household service workers in Spain". American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Vol. 53, No. 4 (Apr. 2010). ISSN 0271-3586, pp. 405-416
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Household service work has been largely absent from occupational health studies. We examine the occupational hazards and health effects identified by immigrant women household service workers. METHODS: Exploratory, descriptive study of 46 documented and undocumented immigrant women in household services in Spain, using a phenomenological approach. Data were collected between September 2006 and May 2007 through focus groups and semi-structured individual interviews. Data were separated for analysis by documentation status and sorted using a mixed-generation process. In a second phase of analysis, data on psychosocial hazards were organized using the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire as a guide. RESULTS: Informants reported a number of environmental, ergonomic and psychosocial hazards and corresponding health effects. Psychosocial hazards were especially strongly present in data. Data on reported hazards were similar by documentation status and varied by several emerging categories: whether participants were primarily cleaners or carers and whether they lived in or outside of the homes of their employers. Documentation status was relevant in terms of empowerment and bargaining, but did not appear to influence work tasks or exposure to hazards directly. CONCLUSIONS: Female immigrant household service workers are exposed to a variety of health hazards that could be acted upon by improved legislation, enforcement, and preventive workplace measures, which are discussed.
Sponsor: Contract grant sponsor: Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias [Spanish Fund for Health Research]; Contract grant numbers: FIS PI050497, PI052334, PI061701, PI052202; Contract grant sponsor: Consejería de Empresa, Universidad y Ciencia de la Generalitat Valenciana [Valencian Regional Government, Ministry of Business, University and Science]; Contract grant number: AE/07/068; Contract grant sponsor: ARAI-AGAUR [Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants]; Contract grant number: 2006 ARAI 00020.
ISSN: 0271-3586 (Print) | 1097-0274 (Online)
DOI: 10.1002/ajim.20710
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: Copyright © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. The definitive version is available at
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - SP - Artículos de Revistas
Institucional - IUIEG - Publicaciones

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