Proposed study looks for link between minorities, stress-related illness
A proposed study would explore the relationship between minority populations and work-related stress to help develop intervention and prevention efforts.
"Because of their general concentration in high-hazard and/or lower-status occupations, some racial and ethnic minority workers may be over-exposed to workplace factors -- e.g. high workload and low job control -- which have traditionally linked to a variety of stress related health and safety problems. In addition, racial and ethnic minorities appear to be significantly more likely than non-minorities to encounter discrimination and other race-related stressors in the workplace," according to a proposed data collection submitted for public comment and recommendations.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is seeking permission to proceed with the project to see whether minorities are at an increased risk of problems associated with workplace stress. Increasing medical care utilization costs, job dissatisfaction, poor job performance, and employee turnover are among the documented health, economic, psychological, and behavioral consequences of stress.
According to the proposal, the following minorities suffer health effects possibly related to stress:
- Age adjusted prevalence of hypertension among blacks is 40 percent compared to 27.4 percent among non-Hispanic whites.
- Some cancers are five times greater among Asians.
- Type II diabetes is two to five times greater among Hispanics.
- Depression is four to six times greater among Native Americans.
"Given a potentially greater stress burden, racial and ethnic minority workers may be at heightened risk for the development of health and safety problems associated with stress," the proposal states. "On the other hand, occupational stress research experts suggest that certain workplace and other factors -- coworker and supervisory support, anti-discrimination policies and practices -- may help reduce stress among employees, including racial and ethnic minorities."
If approved, a random sample of 2,300 Chicago-area adults would be asked about their exposure to workplace and job stressors, their health and safety status, and organizational characteristics that might buffer them from the adverse effects of work-related stressors.
The information would be used to develop practices that benefit the health and safety of the diverse American workforce.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
June 25, 2012
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