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Radon, Katja ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5271-3972; Llanqui, Uriel; Arce, Andrés; Herrera, Ronald; Herbig, Britta ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6772-5255; Nowak, Dennis ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7871-8686 and Parra, Manuel (2016): Job strain, bullying and violence at work and asthma in Peruvian cleanersa cross-sectional analysis. In: Journal of Asthma, Vol. 53, No. 10: pp. 1018-1025

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Objectives: An increased asthma prevalence was found in cleaners. Many of them work in precarious employment conditions, potentially leading to stress, a known risk factor for asthma. We aimed to analyze whether asthma in cleaners might partly be explained by psychosocial working conditions. Methods: The study population of this cross-sectional study included 199 cleaners employed at regional public health services in Puno Province (Peru). They were compared to 79 unexposed workers from Lima, Peru (response 83%). Both groups answered the short version of the European Working Condition Survey and a modified version of the European Community Respiratory Health screening questionnaire. After multiple imputation, the association between psychosocial working conditions and asthma (wheeze without cold or use of asthma medication) was assessed. Results: The 12-months prevalence of asthma was 22% among cleaners versus 5% among unexposed workers (p(Chi)(2) = .001). Cleaners were more likely than unexposed workers to work with temporary or sub-contracts, have a high employment insecurity, high strain working conditions and low social support (all p(Chi)(2) < .05). Twenty-six percent vs. 10% reported a high bullying score;39% vs. 8% had experienced violence at work (both p(Chi)(2) < .001). High bullying score (adjusted Odds Ratio 5.6;95% Confidence Interval 1.5-21.4) and violence (2.4;1.1-5.4) were the main predictors of asthma. Taking these factors into account, being a cleaner was not statistically significantly associated with the outcome (3.5;0.9-13.8). Conclusions: Poor psychosocial working conditions of cleaners may partly explain the high prevalence of asthma. The underlying mechanism might be a stress-induced inflammatory immune response.

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