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Original Research

Working Conditions, Workplace Violence, and Psychological Distress in Andean Miners: A Cross-sectional Study Across Three Countries

Authors:

Maria Luisa Salas ,

Center for International Health of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
About Maria Luisa
MPH
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Steve Quezada,

Occupational Health Office, Cementos Pacasmayo, Trujillo, Perú
About Steve
MD, MSc
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Armando Basagoitia,

International Affairs Office, Universidad Mayor Real y Pontificia de San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca, Sucre, Bolivia
About Armando
MD, MSc
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Tamara Fernandez,

Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile
About Tamara
Lic
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Ronald Herrera,

Center for International Health of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
About Ronald
MSc
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Manuel Parra,

Center for International Health of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany; Department of Psychiatry, San Borja-Arriaran Hospital, Santiago de Chile, Chile
About Manuel
MD
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Daniel Moraga Muñoz,

Facultad de Medicina Universidad Diego Portales & Asesor OFECS Universidad Iberoamericana de Ciencias y Tecnología, Santiago de Chile, Chile
About Daniel Moraga
PhD
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Matthias Weigl,

Center for International Health of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
About Matthias
PhD
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Katja Radon

Center for International Health of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
About Katja
MSc, PhD
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Abstract

Background

Psychosocial working conditions are well-known determinants of poor mental health. However, studies in mining populations where employment and working conditions are frequently precarious have, to our knowledge, only focused on occupational accidents and diseases.

Objectives

The aim of this study was to assess psychosocial working conditions and psychological distress in Andean underground miners.

Methods

The study population consisted of 153 Bolivian miners working in a silver mining cooperative, 137 Chilean informal gold miners, and 200 formal Peruvian silver miners employed in a remote setting. High work demands, minimal work control, minimal social support at work, and workplace exposure to violence and bullying were assessed using the Spanish short form of the European Working Condition Survey. A general health questionnaire score >4 was used as cutoff for psychological distress. Associations between psychosocial work environment and psychological distress were tested using logistic regression models controlling for potential confounding and effect modification by country.

Findings

Prevalence of psychological distress was 82% in the Bolivian cooperative miners, 29% in the Peruvian formal miners, and 22% in the Chilean informal miners (pχ2 < 0.001). 55% of the miners had suffered violence during the 12-months before the survey. Workplace demands were high (median 12.5 on a scale from 7-14), as was social support (median 5.5 on a scale from 3-6). After adjustment for country and other relevant exposure variables and considering interactions between country and job strain, miners in active (odds ratio [OR], 6.8; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.1-22.7) and high strain jobs (OR, 7.2; 95% CI, 1.7-29.9) were at increased odds of distress compared with those in low strain jobs. Violence at work also contributed to increased odds of distress (OR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.1-3.1).

Conclusions

Psychological distress is associated with the psychosocial work environment in Andean underground miners. Interventions in mining populations should take the psychosocial work environment into account.

How to Cite: Salas, M.L., Quezada, S., Basagoitia, A., Fernandez, T., Herrera, R., Parra, M., Muñoz, D.M., Weigl, M. and Radon, K., 2015. Working Conditions, Workplace Violence, and Psychological Distress in Andean Miners: A Cross-sectional Study Across Three Countries. Annals of Global Health, 81(4), pp.465–474. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2015.06.002
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Published on 17 Dec 2015.
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