Employment Quality and Mental and Self-Reported Health Inequities among Latinx Housecleaners: The Safe and Just Cleaners Study

Sherry Baron, Isabel Cuervo, Gary Winkel, Deysi Flores, Ana Gonzalez, Homero Harari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Precarious employment, such as housecleaning, is one important structural contributor to health inequities. We used an employment quality (EQ) framework to characterize the impact of employment conditions on mental and self-reported ill-health among Latinx housecleaners in the New York City metropolitan area. Using a community-based participatory research approach, we collected cross-sectional survey data from 402 housecleaners between August 2019 and February 2020 to characterize housecleaners’ EQ and its association with depression, perceived stress, and self-reported health. We also measured work-related irritant eye, skin, and respiratory symptoms, which have been shown in previous research to be associated with housecleaners’ exposure to chemical components of cleaning products. Our housecleaner cohort was largely female and immigrant and most had worked at least five years. Survey items capturing the EQ dimensions of unbalanced interpersonal relations, low material resources, and violations of workers’ rights were associated with increased odds of depression, perceived stress, and self-reported ill-health. Work-related irritant eye, skin, and respiratory symptoms were also independently associated with mental and self-reported ill-health and some of the effects of EQ on health were potentially partially mediated through their association with work-related irritant symptoms. Findings can inform directions for community-based educational and policy initiatives to improve housecleaners’ employment quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15973
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • community-based participatory research
  • employment quality
  • health inequities
  • housecleaners
  • mental health
  • precarious employment
  • workplace hazards

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