New study explores affects of gender, work, and migration on Latina immigrant workers’ health

Immigrant women workers from Latin America:

An exploration of structural vulnerability at the intersection of work, gender, and health

In Massachusetts, one out of every five workers is foreign-born; four percent are foreign-born Latinx workers. Foreign-born Latinx workers are disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs with higher rates of abuse, occupational injuries, and illnesses. Work-related factors intersect with other social and structural determinants of health, such as immigration and language, to affect the health of this population in unique ways.

This dissertation will explore how gender, work, and migration interact to affect Latina immigrant workers’ physical and mental health. The project aims to characterize the breadth of lived experiences of adult women arrived to the U.S. within the past 5 years from Central America and Mexico working in low-wage jobs in the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In collaboration with our community partners, we will conduct in-depth interviews and observations with low-wage Latina immigrant workers. This will enhance understanding of women’s lived experiences before, during, and after migration, exploring gender-related social norms and how social networks shape integration challenges. We will also deploy a survey to assess the relationship between psychosocial stressors (e.g., racial and ethnic discrimination, housing insecurity) and physical health and psychological distress among low-wage Latina workers, as moderated by social supports. To guide interventions, we will work collaboratively with partners to lead a stakeholder engagement process, drawing on insights from the qualitative and quantitative phases of research, and guided by implementation science principles.

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