Manynon farming people have perception that farming is a stress free life and rurallife is healthier, it helps to establish and maintain close family relationshipand financial concerns are less. However this situation has changed over thepast years and it is quite interesting that farming is found to be one of theoccupations which cause high stress.
Stress is our response to anything thatthreatens our survival. The Survival can be physical, emotional, financial orany kind of survival that’s important for human life. When one get excitedabout something he feels anticipation and this helps him get mentally andphysically ready for the task. This is called Eustress, and it gives energy.But when one suffer from too much stress, and particularly if it remains over along period of time, this is called distress. Prolonged distress can result insevere physical and/or emotional problems.
In many rural areas, a highpercentage of visits to family physicians are due to stress relatedillnesses. Stress can arise from anopportunity, demand, constraint, threat or challenge when the outcome of theevent is both important and uncertain1.Occupationalstress is the negative effect on the individual from the sum of differentfactors in a work place, which may act as stress. It has been further definedas a perceived imbalance between occupational demands and the individual’sability to perform when the consequences of failure are thought to be important. Beehr and Newman (1978) defined occupational stress as a condition arisingfrom the interaction of people and their jobs and characterized by changeswithin people that force them to develop from their normal functioning2.Farminghas been recognized as one of the most hazardous occupation in terms of workingenvironment & conditions leading to accidents, injuries, and diseases underdifferent physical, biological, chemical, psychological and sociologicalfactors.
Manyof the factors causing mental and emotional stress are viewed asuncontrollable, and include the disease or pests, failure of equipment,commodity prices, weather, input costs, market prices, media portrayal of theagricultural industry, government policies and the lack of adequate, affordable, accessible care, health problems, family problems, illiteracy etc. Though, there are manyfactors cause stress to farming community the following categories have beenidentified as stress factors for this study.FinancialStressThecurrent precarious financial scenario of agricultural sector is causing a seriousstress to farming communities. Most farmers are caught in the high input costs– low remunerative price vicious cycle leading to financial crisis and the occupationis unviable for the farming families. Lack of regular cash flow, stringentbanking regulations, rising input costs, no remunerative commodity prices, highdebt loads, and not enough money for daily necessities are attributed as stressfactors among farming community.
WorkOverload StressFarmingcommunities facing overload for the daily work though involvement of all familymembers in farm work. Continuous & long duration of work, untimely,seasonal load with pressure causing anxiety and emotional disturbance as it is notfulfilling the basic necessities.WeatherStressFarmershave always had to contend with the unpredictability of the weather.
Perhapsone of the reasons why farming is such a stressful occupation is the number ofthing which have to come together to succeed in farming. Favourable weather is certainly such anelement. To produce a good harvest the weather must cooperate in producing anarrow and optimal range of temperatures, sunshine, and moisture.FarmingHasslesThesestressors are commonly faced by farming communities which are part and parcelof farming and rural life. An equipment breakdown at a peak time, having totravel long distances for goods and services, problems with weeds or insects,sickness in livestock, pressures in keeping up with new technology andproducts, loss of farm help when most needed, having to use hazardouschemicals, need to learn and adjust to new policies and regulations etc.OtherPeople as StressWhileinteraction with other can provide enrichment and fulfilment, other people cansometimes be also significant sources of stress. Some of the stressors fallingin this category are problems in a farm operating agreement with relatives; notseeing enough people, conflicts with spouse, decisions being made without one’spersonal knowledge, not spending enough time with spouse and family, and not being considered as an important part of the farm business byothers.MATERIAL & METHODSType of study:Community based descriptive cross sectional study.
Study population:Patients admitted in Government Medical College and Hospital (GHATI) Aurangabadwith an attempted suicide (due to consumption of OP poisoning, drowning,hanging etc) during the year of 2014 &2015. Aurangabad was one of the drought prone districtsin Maharashtra. Hence, this study attempted to find out the possible factorswhich may act as stressors in farming community. The total number of Patientsadmitted in GHATI with an attempt to commit suicide during period of 2014 &2015 were counted. This was followed by listing out the attempt to suicidepatients of Aurangabad district followed by categorization as per talukawiseand purposive sampling for selection of talukas was done.Sincethe main objective of the study was to find out the stress levels of farmers ofMarathwada region, two talukas namely Aurangabad and Kannad, which recordedhighest number of farmer’s suicidal attempt cases admitted during 2014 and 2015in the largest referral hospital of the region – Government Medical CollegeHospital, Aurangabad, were selected.Sampling Methodology: Subsequentlyfrom each of the selected taluka six highest incidence villages were selectedfrom which all the farmers were grouped into three strata’s as per their sizeof land holding – Small (<2 Hectares), Medium (2-5 Hectares) and Largefarmers (>5 hectares). Then 120 farmers were selected from the threecategories following proportionate probability sampling method, for the survey.
Data Collection Tool: The Modified Farm Stress Inventory – Questionnaire of Pierrette Desrosiese (Farm StressInventory created by James & Lilly Walker, Newsletter of Centre forAgricultural Medicine, University of Saskatchewan) was used to evaluate thestress related factors. And stressors classified into five factors asFinancial Stressors, Farming Hassles, Weather Stressors, Work OverloadStressors, and Other People as Stressors. Thequestionnaire consisted of 60 issues reflecting the above five stress causingfactors .for selection of level of stress the opinion of the farmers wasrecorded by using a five point scale (low stress 1-2-3-4-5-high stress).
Thescore for each factor the summation of the answers of the issues of thatparticular factor. And if score were below 24 it was considered as low levelstress. Score in between 24-36, medium level stress and score 36-60, highstress level of that particular factor3. Inclusion Criteria: Farmerswho were ready to participate in the study with minimum 10 years experience infarming.Exclusion Criteria: Farmerswho were not willing to take part in study.