OBJECTIVES--During a study of the occupational health of the child workers in several small leather workshops, investigations were also made of the sociocultural factors that made it necessary for the children, aged between 7 and 14 years, to work. The psychosocial effects of the same factors were also investigated. METHODS--Personal interviews were carried out with a prepared questionaire, and the findings were compared between the working children and a control group of the same number of non-working children from the neighbourhood, matched for age, sex, and religion. RESULTS--It was found that the foremost cause of taking up employment by the children was poverty. The overall effects found were deprivation of education and lowering of aspirations, that indicated a blunting of mental faculties. CONCLUSION--Prolonged, monotonous work in childhood that precludes education and healthy recreation, is harmful to the children.
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