Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

The Mental Health of Agricultural Workers

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The manifestation of stressors and associated coping strategies appears to vary according to whether individuals own or operate farms or whether individuals are hired as farm workers. It is apparent that farmers are at risk for the development of stress and other mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Almost all of the studies on the mental health of hired farm workers have been conducted in the last 6 years. Although this literature is more scant than the farmer literature in terms of quantity, the research on stress and mental health in migrant farm workers has been conducted in a methodologically rigorous manner.

Many of these studies produced descriptive findings. Less common were studies that attempted to look at stress, coping, and mental health in a theoretical context. Prospective research is thus necessary to assess the interaction of stress and coping in agricultural workers over time. Also needed is research that looks at the interplay of mental health and physical health over time, given that the literature suggests that severe stress has a negative impact on both facets of health. Intensive, longitudinal work in the area will provide for the type of applied knowledge that will help in the generation of mental health interventions for agricultural workers.


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Agricultural Medicine