Anxiety and depression symptoms among farmers. The HUNT Study, Norway.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonJournal of Agromedicine 2016, 21(1):24-33 10.1080/1059924X.2015.1106375
Agriculture has undergone profound changes, and farmers face a wide variety of stressors. Our aim was to study the levels of anxiety and depression symptoms among Norwegian farmers compared with other occupational groups. Working participants in the HUNT3 Survey (The Nord- Trøndelag Health Study, 2006–2008), aged 19–66.9 years, were included in this cross-sectional study. We compared farmers (women, n = 317; men, n = 1,100) with HUNT3 participants working in other occupational groups (women, n = 13,429; men, n = 10,026), classified according to socioeconomic status. We used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to measure anxiety and depression symptoms. Both male and female farmers had higher levels of depression symptoms than the general working population, but the levels of anxiety symptoms did not differ. The differences in depression symptom levels between farmers and the general working population increased with age. In an age-adjusted logistic regression analysis, the odds ratio (OR) for depression caseness (HADS-D ≥8) when compared with the general working population was 1.49 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.22–1.83) in men and 1.29 (95% CI: 0.85–1.95) in women. Male farmers had a higher OR of depression caseness than any other occupational group (OR = 1.94, 95% CI: 1.52–2.49, using higher-grade professionals as reference). Female farmers had an OR similar to men (2.00, 95% CI: 1.26–3.17), but lower than other manual occupations. We found that farmers had high levels of depression symptoms and average levels of anxiety symptoms compared with other occupational groups.