Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 503–510 | Cite as

Psychological Morbidity of Farmers and Non-farming Population: Results from a UK Survey

  • Barry Hounsome
  • Rhiannon T. Edwards
  • Natalia Hounsome
  • Gareth Edwards-Jones
Original Paper


The relatively high rate of suicide among UK farmers suggests that they may suffer greater mental health problems than the general population. This paper provides a comparison of the psychological morbidity of farmers and their partners/spouses with non-farmers. The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was administered using face-to-face interviews with 784 attendees of agricultural shows in the UK. Results show that GHQ-12 scores for farmers and their partners/spouses were significantly higher (P < 0.001) than those for the non-farming population, indicating higher psychological morbidity among farmer families. Approximately 35% of farmers had scores 12 and higher (recommended cut-off for psychiatric disorders), compared to 27% of non-farmers. Within the farmers group, male respondents, those aged from 45 to 64, self-employed or not in paid employment, having a non-supervisory position and living in a rural area were characterized by higher mean GHQ-12 scores compared to correspondent subgroups from the non-farming population.


Farmer health GHQ-12 Rural health Mental health Wales 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Hounsome
    • 1
  • Rhiannon T. Edwards
    • 1
  • Natalia Hounsome
    • 1
  • Gareth Edwards-Jones
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation, Institute of Medical and Social Care ResearchBangor UniversityBangor, GwyneddUK
  2. 2.School of Environment, Natural Resources and GeographyBangor UniversityBangor, GwyneddUK

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