Publications by Co-Author: Berkman

Hurtado DA, Sabbath EL, Ertel KA, Buxton OM, Berkman LF. Racial disparities in job strain among American and immigrant long-term care workers. Int Nurs Rev. 2012;59(2):237-44.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Nursing homes are occupational settings, with an increasing minority and immigrant workforce where several psychosocial stressors intersect. AIM: This study aimed to examine racial/ethnic differences in job strain between Black (n = 127) and White (n = 110) immigrant and American direct-care workers at nursing homes (total n = 237). METHODS: Cross-sectional study with data collected at four nursing homes in Massachusetts during 2006-2007. We contrasted Black and White workers within higher-skilled occupations such as registered nurses or licensed practical nurses (n = 82) and lower-skilled staff such as certified nursing assistants (CNAs, n = 155). RESULTS: Almost all Black workers (96%) were immigrants. After adjusting for demographic and occupational characteristics, Black employees were more likely to report job strain, compared with Whites [relative risk (RR): 2.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3 to 6.6]. Analyses stratified by occupation showed that Black CNAs were more likely to report job strain, compared with White CNAs (RR: 3.1, 95% CI: 1.0 to 9.4). Black workers were also more likely to report low control (RR: 2.1, 95% CI: 1.1 to 4.0). Additionally, Black workers earned $2.58 less per hour and worked 7.1 more hours per week on average, controlling for potential confounders. CONCLUSION: Black immigrant workers were 2.9 times more likely to report job strain than White workers, with greater differences among CNAs. These findings may reflect differential organizational or individual characteristics but also interpersonal or institutional racial/ethnic discrimination. Further research should consider the role of race/ethnicity in shaping patterns of occupational stress.
O'Donnell EM, Berkman LF, Subramanian SV. Manager support for work-family issues and its impact on employee-reported pain in the extended care setting. J Occup Environ Med. 2012;54(9):1142-9.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Supervisor-level policies and the presence of a manager engaged in an employee's need to achieve work-family balance, or "supervisory support," may benefit employee health, including self-reported pain. METHODS: We conducted a census of employees at four selected extended care facilities in the Boston metropolitan region (n = 368). Supervisory support was assessed through interviews with managers and pain was reported by employees. RESULTS: Our multilevel logistic models indicate that employees with managers who report the lowest levels of support for work-family balance experience twice as much overall pain as employees with managers who report high levels of support. CONCLUSIONS: Low supervisory support for work-family balance is associated with an increased prevalence of employee-reported pain in extended care facilities. We recommend that manager-level policies and practices receive additional attention as a potential risk factor for poor health in this setting.
Nelson CC, Li Y, Sorensen G, Berkman LF. Assessing the relationship between work-family conflict and smoking. Am J Public Health. 2012;102(9):1767-72.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: We examined the relationship between smoking and work-family conflict among a sample of New England long-term-care facility workers. METHODS: To collect data, we conducted in-person, structured interviews with workers in 4 extended-care facilities. RESULTS: There was a strong association between smoking likelihood and work-family conflict. Workers who experienced both stress at home from work issues (i.e., work-to-home conflict) and stress at work from personal issues (i.e., home-to-work conflict) had 3.1 times higher odds of smoking than those who did not experience these types of conflict. Workers who experienced home-to-work conflict had an odds of 2.3 compared with those who did not experience this type of conflict, and workers who experienced work-to-home conflict had an odds of 1.6 compared with workers who did not experience this type of conflict. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicate that there is a robust relationship between work-family conflict and smoking, but that this relationship is dependent upon the total amount of conflict experienced and the direction of the conflict.
Okechukwu CA, El Ayadi AM, Tamers SL, Sabbath EL, Berkman L. Household food insufficiency, financial strain, work-family spillover, and depressive symptoms in the working class: the Work, Family, and Health Network study. Am J Public Health. 2012;102(1):126-33.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the association of household-level stressors with depressive symptoms among low-wage nursing home employees. METHODS: Data were collected in 2006 and 2007 from 452 multiethnic primary and nonprimary wage earners in 4 facilities in Massachusetts. We used logistic regression to estimate the association of depressive symptoms with household financial strain, food insufficiency, and work-family spillover (preoccupation with work-related concerns while at home and vice versa). RESULTS: Depressive symptoms were significantly associated with household financial strain (odds ratio [OR] = 1.82; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03, 3.21) and food insufficiency (OR = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.10, 4.18). Among primary earners, stratified analyses showed that food insufficiency was associated with depressive symptoms (OR = 3.60; 95% CI = 1.42, 9.11) but financial strain was not. Among nonprimary wage earners, depressive symptoms correlated with financial strain (OR = 3.65; 95% CI = 1.48, 9.01) and work-family spillover (OR = 3.22; 95% CI = 1.11, 9.35). CONCLUSIONS: Household financial strain, food insufficiency, and work-family spillover are pervasive problems for working populations, but associations vary by primary wage earner status. The prevalence of food insufficiency among full-time employees was striking and might have a detrimental influence on depressive symptoms and the health of working-class families.
King RB, Karuntzos GT, Casper LM, Moen P, Davis KD, Berkman L, Durham M, Kossek EE. Work-Family Balance Issues and Work-Leave Policies. In: Handbook of Occupational Health and Wellness. New York, NY: Springer; 2012. pp. 323-339.
Ertel KA, Berkman LF, Buxton OM. Socioeconomic status, occupational characteristics, and sleep duration in African/Caribbean immigrants and US White health care workers. Sleep. 2011;34(4):509-18.Abstract
STUDY OBJECTIVES: o advance our understanding of the interplay of socioeconomic factors, occupational exposures, and race/ethnicity as they relate to sleep duration. We hypothesize that non Hispanic African/Caribbean immigrant employees in long term health care have shorter sleep duration than non Hispanic white employees, and that low education, low income, and occupational exposures including night work and job strain account for some of the African/Caribbean immigrant-white difference in sleep duration. DESIGN: Cross sectional SETTING: Four extended care facilities in Massachusetts, United States PARTICIPANTS: 340 employees in extended care facilities MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Sleep duration was assessed with wrist actigraphy for a mean of 6.3 days. In multivariable regression modeling controlling for gender and age, African/Caribbean immigrants slept 64.4 fewer minutes (95% CI: -81.0, -47.9) per night than white participants; additional control for education and income reduced the racial gap to 50.9 minutes (-69.2, -32.5); additional control for the occupational factors of hours worked per week and working the night shift reduced the racial gap to 37.7 minutes (-57.8, -17.6). CONCLUSIONS: his study provides support for the hypothesis that socioeconomic and occupational characteristics explain some of the African/ Caribbean immigrant-white difference in sleep duration in the United States, especially among health care workers.
O'Donnell EM, Ertel KA, Berkman LF. Depressive symptoms in extended-care employees: children, social support, and work-family conditions. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2011;32(12):752-65.Abstract
To examine the relation between having a child aged 18 years and under in the home and employee depressive symptoms, we analyzed cross-sectional data from four extended care facilities in Boston, MA (n = 376 employees). Results show that having a child is associated with slightly higher depressive symptoms. The strength of this relationship in our models is attenuated with the inclusion of social support at home (β = 1.08 and β = 0.85, with and without support, respectively) and may differ by gender. We recommend that future research examine the role of parenting and social support in predicting employee mental health.
Berkman LF, Buxton OM, Ertel K, Okechukwu C. Manager’s practices related to work-family balance predict employee cardiovascular risk and sleep duration in extended care settings. Journal of Occup Health Psychology. 2010;15(3):316–329.
Ertel KA, Koenen KC, Berkman LF. Incorporating home demands into models of job strain: findings from the work, family, and health network. J Occup Environ Med. 2008;50(11):1244-52.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article was to integrate home demands with the demand-control-support model to test if home demands interact with job strain to increase depressive symptoms. METHODS: Data were from 431 employees in four extended care facilities. Presence of a child younger than 18 years in the household signified home demands. The outcome was depressive symptoms based on a shortened version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. RESULTS: The association between job strain and depressive symptoms was moderated by social support (SS) and presence of a child in the household (child). There was no association among participants with high SS and no child, but a positive one among participants with low SS and a child. CONCLUSIONS: Job strain may be a particularly important determinant of depressive symptoms among employees with family demands. Models of job strain should expand to incorporate family demands.