Farming struggles and triumphs: the effects of a unique working environment

McShane, Connar, and Quirk, Frances (2010) Farming struggles and triumphs: the effects of a unique working environment. Journal of Rural Medicine, 5 (1). pp. 60-61.

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The number of farming families in Australia has been declining for the last 20 years. Climate change, government legislation and policies are adding to the challenges. This study investigated the impact of work-family role conflict on farming family well-being, effective coping strategies and positive aspects of lifestyle. As available assessment tools aren't culturally relevant, an additional aim was to develop measures of work-family conflict, stressors, and coping strategies for Australia. Findings will be reported on the first stage of measure development.

The first stage involved semi-structured interviews of farming families (N=30) from across Queensland and South-Eastern Australia. Interviews were audio-recorded and qualitatively analyzed to identify items relevant to the following areas: lifestyle, work-home interface, stressors, coping.

Preliminary results from interviews indicate lifestyle and good relationships are strong buffers for stress. Role ambiguity and property partnerships contributed to family conflict and dissatisfaction. Coping strategies included spending time with family, friends, and social drinking. Families perceive themselves as socially isolated from the Australian public and government due to their chosen occupation. There is a perception changes in the industry have had a negative impact on community connectedness, support, and gatherings, which has impacted negatively on satisfaction and lifestyle.

The number of farming families is decreasing and the industry is becoming increasingly difficult for farms to remain sustainable, yet some remain though primarily for lifestyle and children. The development of measures to assess stress and coping can help identify good and poor practices for farming families of Australia, giving guidance for those struggling and those considering entering the industry.

Item ID: 25305
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1880-4888
Keywords: work-family conflict; farming families; lifestyle; stress; well-being; coping
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Date Deposited: 22 May 2013 02:44
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920505 Mens Health @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 40%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 30%
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