The impact of child labour on health and psychosocial status of working children aged between 10 and 16 years in Jordan
Objective: to examine the effects of work on health and pyschosocial status among boys aged 10-16 years in Jordan. Study design: This is a comparative cross-sectional study, comparing working and non-working with respect to health and psycho-social outcomes, taking account of confounding due socio-economical factors. Results. Bivariate analysis showed that child's work was a strong significant predictor for eight z score, height z score, PCV, morbidity, skinfold thickness percentile and PEFR. This significant effect persisted in the full regression models after controlling for socio-economic and smoking status. Working children had significant lower weight z score (B=-0.31), height z score (B=-0.51), PCV (B=-2.96), skinfold thickness percentile (B=-6.85) compared to non-working subjects. Pyschosocial score tended to be reduced by 13 points (better pyschosocial status) when the child was non-working (B=-12.7). The significant negative relationship between work and PEFR in the bivariate model disappeared in the full regression model. In multiple regression modelling work status explained 3% of the 6.5% of variance explained in the weight z-score model, 6.7% of 9.8% for height z-score, 12.5% of 14.9% for PCV, 15% of 21% for skinfold thickness, 115 of 24% for PEFR, 9.4% of 30.9% for morbidity and 46% of 50% for pyschosocial status. Mean height and weight z-scores and packed cell volume among working children were significantly lower than those of their siblings; 5% and 9.6% of working children respectively were wasted and stunted (z score<-2 SD) compared to none of the siblings. No statistically significant correlation was also found between weight z-scores, height z-scores, packed cell volume and skinfold thickness of siblings and the proportion of household income contributed by the working child. Duration of work, child's monthly income, household per capita income and maternal height, were significant predictors of the growth of working children expressed by weight and height z score.