A-7/16 Farm-Related Concerns and Mental Health Status Among Norwegian Farmers

The agricultural sector in Norway has undergone structural changes over the past 50 years. The objective of this study was to analyze the distribution of concerns about farm economy, work time, and mental complaints among Norwegian farmers. In a sample of single principal owner-operators (n = 2,676), we calculated the unadjusted and adjusted odd ratios (ORs) for concerns about the farm economy, concerns for insufficient time to complete work, and high symptom load of mental complaints. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to explore the associations between farm characteristics, concerns, and mental health. Farmers had a high probability for an increased symptom load of mental complaints. The level of farm income was more strongly associated with economic concerns and mental health concerns when a major part of total household income resulted from farming. The high workload required in farming combined with off-farm supplemental employment was additionally associated with higher levels of time concerns and mental complaints. Norwegian farmers have a relatively high workload both in farming and in off-farm work but are able to make sustainable plans for their individual workload needs. The high individual workload in both these arenas poses a challenge, but was not associated with a greater probability for a high symptom load of mental complaints. Journal of Agromedicine 21:4 (2016) 316-326

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