International perspectives on psychosocial working conditions, mental health and stress of dairy farm operators
Kolstrup, Christina Lunner; Kallioniemi, Marja; Lundqvist, Peter; Kymäläinen, Hanna-Riitta; Stallones, Lorann; Brumby, Susan (2013)
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Kolstrup, Christina Lunner
Journal of Agromedicine
Taylor & Francis
Dairy farm operators—farmers, workers, and family members—are faced with many demands and stressors in their daily work and these appear to be shared across countries and cultures. Dairy operators experience high psychosocial demands with respect to a hard work and production ethos, economic influences, and social and environmental responsibility. Furthermore, both traditional and industrial farms are highly dependent on external conditions, such as weather, fluctuating markets, and regulations from government authorities. Possible external stressors include disease outbreaks, taxes related to dairy production, and recent negative societal attitudes to farming in general. Dairy farm operators may have very few or no opportunities to influence and control these external conditions, demands, and expectations. High work demands and expectations coupled with low control and lack of social support can lead to a poor psychosocial work environment, with increased stress levels, ill mental health, depression, and, in the worst cases, suicide. Internationally, farmers with ill mental health have different health service options depending on their location. Regardless of location, it is initially the responsibility of the individual farmer and farm family to handle mental health and stress, which can be of short- or long-term duration. This paper reviews the literature on the topics of psychosocial working conditions, mental health, stress, depression, and suicide among dairy farm operators, farm workers, and farm family members in an international perspective.
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