Work. 2021 Sep 3. doi: 10.3233/WOR-213562. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The work environment is a place in which different kinds of interpersonal relationships are developed and can contribute positively or negatively to productivity and to workers’ well-being. Discussion on this topic may contribute to building more coping strategies to fight against gender inequality and the emotional repercussions of these conditions.
OBJECTIVE: This is a cross-sectional study that investigated the possible influence of work environment relationships on the mental health of Brazilian seamstresses.
METHODS: The participants were seamstresses from four clothing factories in a city in the southwest of Brazil. For data collection, we used the Social Support Perception at Work Scale; Self-Report Questionnaire; Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test; and a focus group. The quantitative data were statistically analyzed, and data from the focus groups were analyzed using content analysis.
RESULTS: Interpersonal relationships at work were mentioned as sources of conflict and stress but also as emotional and material social support providers. In the sample studied, these relationships did not influence directly the development of mental health disorders.
CONCLUSIONS: Study results suggest that a low level of education is an important factor that increases the vulnerability of these women to the precariousness of work, and, consequently to developing mental health symptoms or aggravating previous mental health distress. However, emotional and material support from peers likely protects these workers’ mental health.
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