Risk factors for psychological distress within the farming family population

McShane, Connar, Swinbourne, Anne, and Quirk, Frances (2014) Risk factors for psychological distress within the farming family population. In: Brumby, Susan, Kennedy, Alison, and Todd, Bianca, (eds.) Sowing the Seeds of Farmer Health. VURRN Press, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, pp. 57-82.

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Past research by McShane (2011) has reported that the farming family lifestyle is characterised by a high-stress working environment. When this finding is considered in conjunction with the comparatively high suicide rates reported for men and women who work in the farming/agricultural sector (Caldwell et al., 2004; Andersen et al., 2010), there is concern about the impact of the working environment on farming family wellbeing. To determine the relationship between the working environment and the mental health of farming families, the current research explored risk factors for psychological distress. Farming family participants (N=278) were recruited from across Australia. Participants completed a questionnaire package, which assessed role interference, stressors, coping behaviours, protective factors, life satisfaction, burnout and psychological distress. Cluster analysis was used to identify profiles of those potentially at risk. Results indicated a significant difference in level of reported psychological distress between high and low risk groups. Findings suggested that indicators for psychological distress included high levels of role interference, family stressors, and emotional exhaustion (as a component of burnout). Men differed from women in that self-distracting coping behaviours and poor life satisfaction were associated with increased risk of psychological distress. Women differed from men in that components of burnout played a greater role in women’s psychological distress. Overall, the nature of risk factors centred on the impact of difficulties in managing roles and responsibilities. Further, these identified stressors and role impacts represent the extent to which the farm impacts upon family satisfaction and the importance of a successful fusion or integration of the family and business systems. Recommendations are made for future research to develop risk assessment tools for psychological distress within the farming family population.

Item ID: 35075
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-9874558-3-3
Keywords: farming family; work stress; work conflict; mental health
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2015 01:07
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology @ 60%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 50%
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