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Examining the Quality of Life of Farmers with Disabilities: The Ohio AgrAbility Study

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 22(1): 3-13. (doi: 10.13031/jash.22.10929) @2016
Authors:   Suzanna R. Windon, S. Dee Jepsen, Scott D. Scheer
Keywords:   External-environmental factors, Farmers with disabilities, Health-work-leisure factors, Quality of life, Social-demographic factors.

Abstract. Quality of life is a broad concept that presents a challenge to measure as a scientific category. Quality of life encompasses a broad range of variables based on an individual‘s expression of life satisfaction, perceptions, values, feelings of subjective well-being, and happiness. This study identified and examined factors that influenced the quality of life of Ohio farmers with disabilities who were enrolled in the Ohio AgrAbility Program (OAP) (n = 55) and participated in this study (60% response rate). A 34-item questionnaire was created. The sample of OAP farmers reported stress many days a week, had a negative outlook on life, and were less satisfied with their overall quality of life because of their health. The OAP participants reported external factors, such as cost of equipment, financial pressures, and input costs, as having a negative effect on their quality of life. The participants also reported that they were not satisfied with the amount of vacation time (60.6%), managing farm work and family life (54.6%), overall health (55%), and quality of life (27%). The results showed a significant difference between the OAP participants‘ overall quality of life and the following variables: gender, net cash income, outlook on life, health, stress, farm work, managing farm and family, social activities, and emotional support for farmers with disabilities. The findings of this exploratory study allowed farmers to identify factors that they perceived as important to their quality of life. Moreover, the results may be helpful for stakeholders to better understand the needs of farmers with disabilities and provide appropriate educational and other services to enhance their quality of life.

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