Ag Disability Awareness and Risk Education

Project Title: Ag Disability Awareness and Risk Education

Principal Investigator: Deborah B. Reed, Ph.D.

Affiliation: University of Kentucky

City & State: Lexington, Kentucky

Grant Number: 1 R01 CCR414307-01

Start & End Dates: 09/30/97 – 09/29/00


The prevention of permanent disabilities among farm youth is often ignored by prevention programs. Rather, mortality prevention is emphasized, even though this concept is incongruent to the developmental capacity of many youth. An innovative demonstration project is proposed which addresses the prevention of permanent disabilities in a population known to be at high risk. At the core of the program are two types of simulations: a paper-and pencil narrative exercise, and a set of physical devices that simulate disability through experimental learning. Simulations will focus on three disabilities: amputation, hearing loss, and long-term effects of chemical exposure. The objective is for students to increase their knowledge of the long-term consequences of cumulative and catastrophic injury, better understand the economic and personal cost of permanent disability, and make specific injury-reduction attitudinal and behavioral changes.

The intervention simulations will be developed in Phase I of the project, with focus groups of farm youth participating in the process. Phase II involves testing and implementation. Using a quasi-experimental, cross-over design, 720 ninth grade vocational agricultural students will be selected from schools in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Iowa. Schools within each state will be randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Treatment groups A and B will receive the physical and narrative simulations in reverse order. In Year 3, the control group, as well as a group of migrant and seasonal farm youth, will receive the simulations. A subsample of youth will be followed up with on-site visits in Year 3 to observe retention of learning and behavior changes. Pre- and post-intervention and follow-up measures will be analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA design. Outcome evaluation will follow NIOSH guidelines and will be based on surveys and direct observations of hazard reduction behaviors, effectiveness training variables, and training evaluation variables.

The benefits of the proposed project are (1) a focus on disability prevention rather than global injury prevention; (2) testing different formats for administering simulations; (3) generalizability of the results across different states, cultures, and agricultural commodities; (4) longitudinal follow-up of randomly selected farm youth to determine the degree to which training is effective over time.

Page last reviewed: August 30, 2001