Allostatic Load and Health Risks of Hotel Housekeepers and Hotel Laundry Workers

Principal Investigator: Marie-Anne Rosemberg, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership, University of Michigan, School of Nursing


Professor Marie-Anne Rosemberg


Dr. Rosemberg and Phlebotomists Darlene and Kim on a data collection day

Hotel housekeepers and hotel laundry workers are exposed to physical, chemical, biological, and psychological hazards at work and are disproportionately women, individuals of color, and immigrants. However, little is known about the exact nature of work and non-work related stressors that increase these workers’ risk for poor health outcomes, and the physiologic responses to those stressors. This pilot study is the first step to address this gap. Our goal was to 1) explore the feasibility of recruiting, enrolling and retaining hotel housekeepers and hotel laundry workers at baseline and six months; 2) assess the effectiveness of study protocol in capturing data; and 3) estimate the effect size of allostatic load to guide our next study.


Phlebotomist Kim taking blood sample from a participant.

We recruited individuals, who work as housekeepers or laundry workers in hotels, from three regions with Michigan. We used flyers, word of mouth, a cultural broker, and a local union that serves that population. Upon obtaining written consent, we measure participants’ blood pressure, measure their waist and hip, measure their lung function, take 2 teaspoon of blood samples and provide participants with a survey booklet to complete. Findings from this study will answer important questions about methods of longitudinal study of hotel workers, with potential for adaptation for future use with other low-wage, immigrant populations, and persons of color, moving us closer to the goal of improving worker health status and promoting productivity, i.e., reduced absenteeism and low work performance (presenteeism).

Publications resulting from this project:
Rosemberg, M.-A. S., Li, Y. and Seng, J. (2017), Allostatic load: a useful concept for advancing nursing research. J Clin Nurs. doi:10.1111/jocn.13753

Project Abstract