Worker Well-Being and Productivity in the Bangladesh Garment Sector
Researchers will pilot a stress management intervention based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to understand whether building skills to cope with psychological strain raises productivity and well-being levels among female workers in an urban manufacturing context. The setting is the Bangladesh ready-made garment (RMG) sector, the country’s largest employer of low-skilled workers living in urban slums and squatter settlements. Residing in these areas exposes them to high levels of noise, waste accumulation, air pollution, and other distressing environmental conditions. In addition, the majority migrate from rural areas, losing access to family support and social networks. This study will use a randomized placebo-controlled trial to ascertain whether a stress reduction intervention can pay for itself through increased productivity and reduced absenteeism in factories. Researchers will also measure its effects on the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and on self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression.