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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 815218, 7 pages
Research Article

Lifetime Paid Work and Mental Health Problems among Poor Urban 9-to-13-Year-Old Children in Brazil

1Departamento de Psiquiatria, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Rua Borges Lagoa 570, 04038-030 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Programa de Pós-Graduação em Distúrbios do Desenvolvimento, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Rua da Consolação 930, Edifício 28, 01302-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 13 August 2013; Accepted 16 September 2013

Academic Editors: C. M. Beasley and C. C. Chiu

Copyright © 2013 Isabel A. Bordin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To verify if emotional/behavioral problems are associated with lifetime paid work in poor urban children, when taking into account other potential correlates. Methods. Cross-sectional study focused on 9-to-13-year-old children ( ). In a probabilistic sample of clusters of eligible households (women 15–49 years and son/daughter 18 years), one mother-child pair was randomly selected per household ( ; response rate = 82.4%). CBCL/6-18 identified child emotional/behavioral problems. Potential correlates include child gender and age, socioeconomic status/SES, maternal education, parental working status, and family social isolation, among others. Multivariate analysis examined the relationship between emotional/behavioral problems and lifetime paid work in the presence of significant correlates. Findings. All work activities were non-harmful (e.g., selling fruits, helping parents at their small business, and baby sitting). Children with lower SES and socially isolated were more involved in paid work than less disadvantaged peers. Children ever exposed to paid work were four times more likely to present anxiety/depression symptoms at a clinical level compared to non-exposed children. Multivariate modeling identified three independent correlates: child pure internalizing problems, social isolation, and low SES. Conclusion. There is an association between lifetime exposure to exclusively non-harmful paid work activities and pure internalizing problems even when considering SES variability and family social isolation.