Perceived health status of farm/ranch women
Todorovich, Nicole Lynn
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Farming and ranching can be a very rewarding lifestyle but can also be detrimental to the health of those who work in the industry. A wealth of research exists on the risks of agricultural work, yet there is little on the actual health status of farmers and ranchers, especially women. This study was a secondary analysis of data generated from a post-intervention survey of rural women with chronic illnesses who participated in the Women to Women (WTW) computer-based project at Montana State University during the past decade. The purpose of this study was to contribute to the body of research about the health status of farm/ranch women living with chronic illness. The aims were to: (a) critically examine the literature regarding farm/ranch women's health; (b) describe the self-reported health of a group of farm/ranch women living with chronic illness; and (c) compare the health status of farm/ranch women with the health status of non-farm/ranch women. Data were collected using a paper and pencil questionnaire, developed to assess perceived general health status, health as it relates to chronic illness, and health problems related to farm/ranch living and work. All participants answered questions related to perceived health status, and from those questions, two scales were developed. The farm/ranch women also completed questions specifically related to illness or injury more common among farmers and ranchers. Results of this study were similar to previous research findings that farm/ranch women have a positive perception about their health status and, in addition to their chronic illness, some had illnesses or injuries related to living and or working on a farm or ranch. Few of these women however, attributed their health problems to the farm or ranch life. Little difference was found in the results of the health status of farm/ranch women when compared with that of non-farm/ranch women.