Proceedings of the VII International Congress of Rural Medicine, September 17-21, Salt Lake City, Utah. International Association of Agricultural Medicine, 1978 Sep; :159-166
The effects of stress on farmers and their families were discussed. The nature of occupational stress was summarized. It was noted that the perception that country living and farming are tranquil compared with urban life is inaccurate, especially in the United States where the complications and pace of agriculture have increased. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has suggested that farmers represent an occupational group with one of the highest levels of job related stress. This suggestion has been supported by the observations and findings of health professionals who practice in rural areas. The author's experience in investigating stress in farm families was discussed. Stress and mental health in farm families were considered. Stress arising from personal conflicts, decision making, environmental influences, crop failure, or financial difficulties can result in feelings of hopelessness and less attention being paid to safety, personal health, and management practices. Stress and physical health in farm families were discussed. Stresses created by technological and social changes in agricultural processes have increased the prevalence of stress related diseases such as insomnia, ulcers, colitis, hypertension, and headaches as well as the incidence of accidents. The author concludes that quick and easy solutions for dealing with stressors associated with agricultural production do not exist. Recommendations for helping farmers and their families cope with stress were given.
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