Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


This study examined the health consequences of child labor in Colombian through the use of a dataset on the economic and non-economic activities engaged in by children and adolescents during 2011. The data collection was a collective effort between the Colombian government and the International Labor Organization (ILO). The data was collected on 48,876 children between the ages of 4 and 17 (mean=11.13, SD=3.7). This particular study focused on a subset of the population of children that either worked and attended school (n=3989) or only worked (n=2,118). Univariate Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to determine whether there was a statistically significant difference between these two groups on the basis of physical and psychological discomfort at work. The group of children who worked and attended school was associated with statistically significant lower mean physical (M=.043) and psychological discomfort (M=.023) than the group of children who only worked (M=.044; M=.066, respectively). The higher mean discomfort in children who only worked showed that attending school mitigates children's discomfort at work. By promoting protective factors to deter child labor, the Colombian government could safeguard children’s health and development. Education should be at the forefront of these. Keywords: Child labor, Colombia, Health, Mental Health