Introduction Several studies have shown a relationship between long working hours (LWH) and adverse health outcomes (e.g., cardiovascular disease, occupational injuries, mental health conditions). These effects are typically attributed to increased exposure to occupational risk factors as well as fewer opportunities for rest and recovery. As it is known that immigrant workers generally have poorer working and employment conditions than other groups, the purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence of LWH with self-reported general health status (SRGH) by immigrant status in a cohort of Latin American immigrant and native-born workers in Spain.
Methods Data were drawn from the Immigrant Cohort Studies Project (PELFI), a prospective cohort comprised of a convenience sample of 180 families residing in Alicante, Spain. The main explanatory variable was LWH. LWH was defined in two ways: extended hours (defined as >40 h/week) and excessive hours (defined as >51 h/week). Poor SRGH was the outcome of interest. Analyses were adjusted for sex and age. For this study, 113 workers were selected of Latin American origin and 43 were Spanish-born. Prevalence and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).
Results The prevalence of poor SRGH was 20.9% in Spanish-born and 47.8% in LA immigrants (p = 0.002). Among immigrants, 22.3% reported extended hours and 8.0% reported excessive hours; among natives, 26.2% and 7.1% reported extended and excessive hours, respectively, neither of which were statistically significant. The trend seen when work hours increased was different in Spanish-born workers (extended hours: aOR = 1.75 95% CI = 0.33–9.07; excessive hours: aOR = 1.90 95% CI = 0.14–25.25) than in immigrant workers (extended hours: aOR = 0.75 95% CI = 0.29–1.92; excessive hours: aOR = 0.91 95% CI = 0.21–3.86).
Conclusions These findings suggest that increasing hours of work may negatively influence the health status of native workers, a trend that was not seen in immigrant workers, and could possibly be explained by the healthy work effect.
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