An Instrument to Measure Musculoskeletal Symptoms among Immigrant Hispanic Farmworkers: Validation in the Nursery Industry

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Meyers, James M.;
  • Faucett, Julia;
  • Janowitz, Ira;
  • Kabashima, John;
  • Miles, John A.;
  • Tejeda, Diana


We report on the construction and psychometrics of a survey measure of musculoskeletal symptomatology for use with Spanish-speaking immigrant farmworkers. Survey development included focus groups with workers, forward and backward translations, and pilot testing. The final survey includes a body diagram and items about symptom severity, frequency, and duration and about self-treatment, medical care, and job tasks. We report on the initial test of the survey with 213 commercial nursery workers in Southern California. Fifty-five percent of the workers reported pain, with 30% reporting back pain, 21% reporting upper extremity pain, 19% reporting lower extremity pain, and 10% reporting neck and shoulder pain. A composite symptom score exhibited acceptable test-retest reliability (r = 0.41, p < 0.01) over the annual agricultural cycle. Greater symptomatology was associated with greater frequency of self-treatment (r = 0.42, p < 0.01), seeking professional health care (t = 2.49, p < 0.05), and exposure to high-risk jobs (OR = 2.1, p < 0.05, CI = 1.0 to 4.4), supporting the validity of composite score.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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