Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

International Family and Community Studies

Committee Member

Dr. James R. McDonell, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Martie P. Thompson

Committee Member

Dr. Bonnie Holaday

Committee Member

Dr. Susan P. Limber


With precarious work, invisible social status, and a livelihood that is unjust, migrant farmworkers in the United States continue to be the hands that pick the nation's fruits and vegetables, the feet that walk the fields, and the bodies that make modern U.S. production agriculture work. The 2016 Nebraska Migrant Farmworker Health Study described demographic, occupational, health, and social characteristics; assessed safety climate and personal protective equipment provision; tested the Social Ecological Model of Migrant Farmworker Health; and tested the Demand-Control paradigm. The study used a cross-sectional design, consisting of a convenience sample of 241 migrant farmworkers in Nebraska. Correlations were used to assess associations between risk and protective factors and health outcomes. Discrimination, job demands, dangerous working conditions, adverse childhood experiences, and acculturation were positively associated with negative health outcomes. Job demands, decision latitude, dangerous working conditions, ACEs, and precarious legal status were significantly negatively correlated to self-rated health. Protective factors such as safety climate and reliable transportation were negatively associated with negative health outcomes. Standard and logistic regression analyses were used to test the Social Ecological Model of Migrant Farmworker Health and assess the impact of risk and protective factors on nine health outcomes. This model successfully predicted body mass index, fatigue, injury, pain, self-rated health, anxiety, depression, stress, and alcohol use. Safety climate and social support moderated the effect of discrimination on depression, and self-efficacy moderated the effect of discrimination on stress. High job demands, but not low control, significantly predicted high levels of stress. By better understanding both the risk and protective factors that are associated with health outcomes, appropriate research, outreach and education, and policy advocacy strategies for migrant farmworkers within the region can be developed.



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