Factors associated with symptoms of poor mental health among women factory workers in China’s supply chain

K. K. Sznajder, S. D. Harlow, J. Wang, L. Tso, Y. Ashagre, C. Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Foreign direct investment (FDI) to China has motivated increased labor migration to export processing zones (EPZs). Work environments with high occupational stress, such as production line jobs typical in EPZs, have been associated with adverse mental health symptoms. Methods: A cross-sectional survey that examined occupational stress and symptoms of poor mental health was implemented among Chinese women factory workers in three electronic factories in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area. Symptoms of mental health measured in the survey were hopelessness, depression, not feeling useful or needed, and trouble concentrating. Crude and adjusted prevalence odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals were calculated with logistic regression. Results: Responses were collected from 696 women factory workers. Participants were aged 18–56 years (mean 28 ± 5.8), 66% of whom were married and 25% of whom were migrants. Nearly 50% of participants reported at least one symptom of poor mental health. After adjusting for covariates associated with each outcome in the bivariate analysis, high job strain was associated with hopelessness (OR 2.68, 95% CI 1.58, 4.56), not feeling useful (OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.22, 3.43), and feeling depressed (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.16, 2.72). Conclusion: This study expands on the international body of research on the well-being of women working in the global supply chain and provides evidence on the associations between occupational stressors, migration, and social support on symptoms of poor mental health among women workers. Future research to better understand and improve psychological health and to prevent suicide among workers in China’s factories is critical to improve the health of China’s labor force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1209-1219
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors associated with symptoms of poor mental health among women factory workers in China’s supply chain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this