Mental Health

Study: Domestic Violence Very Common Among Farmworkers

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Although there are over one million farmworkers in the United States, little is known about intimate partner violence (IPV) among this population. Given the particular demands of agricultural labor, however, farmworkers and their partners are highly susceptible to a host of occupation-specific stressors that may result in relationship conflict, and thereafter IPV.

In cases where one or both members of the dyad engage in problematic drinking, the likelihood of violence increases exponentially. A recent study published in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology examined the prevalence of IPV among a mixed gender sample of farmworkers in San Diego County, California, and assessed the association of potential correlates (acculturation- and work-related stress, problem drinking, and impulsivity) to IPV.

Bilingual interviewers conducted survey data collection by using standardized instruments (e.g., Revised Conflict Tactics Scale; Migrant Farm Work Stress Inventory; Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test). Nearly all participants (n = 100) were Mexican born. Results showed that approximately 16% of female individuals (n = 61) and 32% of male individuals (n = 37) reported partner violence perpetration, victimization, or both, in the past year. Significant correlates of IPV were problem drinking (among males) and impulsivity (among females).

This study demonstrated the feasibility of conducting IPV research among male and female farmworkers. Additional research is warranted to more fully explore the role of acculturation- and work-related stress, drinking, and other personal characteristics and environmental factors in precipitating couple conflict and thereafter IPV.