Perceptions of Farm Stressors Among New Zealand Farm Managers
The New Zealand primary sector not only has one of the highest rates of job-related injuries and illness, but also the Accident Compensation Corporation has paid one o f the highest rate claims of more than NZ$22 million in 2004 and 2005 (ACC, 2006). There are a high number of cases among farmers and farm employees who are involved in fatalities, injuries and ill health where stress and fatigue are the major contributors. Stress-related illnesses, in particular attempted and successful suicides are now some of the major concerns and have attracted increased interest from academics abroad.
The aim of the research is to examine the extent of occupational stress in farming. The survey was piloted and through extensive interviews and farm visits. The pilot study is part of a larger questionnaire survey of self-reported 1041 participants. The Edinburgh Farming Stress Inventory (Deary, Willock, & McGregor, 1997) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) are utilized in the questionnaire survey.
The preliminary analysis discloses the insignificant in the level of strain with non-farming population. Further, the demographic variables such as number of herds, marital status, age group, occupational status and size of the farm are found to he insignificant factors for contributing towards stressors-strains. However, there is significant score differences in the perceived stressors between men and women. The individual characteristic has shown to have greater importance in determining the psychiatric disturbance associated with stress.
The contribution of this research is increased understanding of the causes and consequences of occupational stress in New Zealand farming industry. Further, the outcome will inform practices to identify areas where the industries can make improvements, be used in recruiting and selection programs and assist individuals in career planning
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