Measuring job characteristics and mental health among latino farmworkers: Results from cognitive testing

Joseph G. Grzywacz, Toni Alterman, Carles Muntaner, Susan Gabbard, Jorge Nakamoto, Daniel J. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Few research instruments used in occupational stress research have been evaluated for acceptability and validity among immigrant Latino farmworkers. Methods: Cognitive testing was completed with 40 migrant and seasonal farmworkers (21 women, 19 men) through two focus groups and 16 one-on-one interviews conducted in Texas and Florida. Participants responded to the K-6, a short form instrument designed to measure psychological distress, selected items from the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) and standard health items. Results: The K-6 items were characterized as too long and using a higher "class" language than farmworkers use. Further, the cultural connotation of several items in the K-6 was viewed as inappropriate by farmworkers. Demand items from the JCQ were interpreted inconsistently, whereas decision latitude items were consistently understood but viewed as irrelevant to farmworkers. Conclusions: The results highlight the difficulties involved in conducting research with immigrant farmworkers, and they suggest that researchers interested in studying antecedents and consequences of farmworker mental health need to select instruments cautiously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Cognitive testing
  • Job characteristics
  • Latino farmworkers
  • Mental health
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Qualitative
  • Survey items

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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