Prevalence and predictors of mental health among farmworkers in Southeastern Anatolia of Turkey


Background: Mental health problems represent a major component of the global burden of disease. The primary objective of this study was to assess the prevalence and predictors of psychological wellbeing among farmworkers and to evaluate their mental health services need for in rural primary health care settings.

Methods: The study sample comprised 1855 farmworkers (918 women, and 937 men)  who were selected using probability cluster sampling method at 95% confidence interval (87.6 % response rate). The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and socio-demographic information form were used to data collection.

Results: The overall prevalence of mental health problems was 31.5%; the prevalence among women was 1.4 times that of men (35%, females; 28.2%, males). Logistic regression analyses revealed that poor general health, as well as presence of chronic diseases and exposure to traumatic life events predicted mental ill health among both sex. Poor economic situation, being seasonal migrant farmworker, and pesticide exposure history affected male mental health problems; while type of settlement, history of having disabled child at birth, and not having a family physician were significant predictors of female mental ill health  (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: These findings highlight the need for systematic development of community-based mental health services in conjunction with rural primary health care center and an integrated approach to health care of farmworkers. These include screening, early identification and treatment of mental health problems, development of non-communicable disease (NCD) control program, maternal health services and urgent measures to improve farmworkers’ work safety and pesticide applications.

Key words: Farmworkers, Psychological health, Predictors, General Health Questionnaire -12.

Disclosures: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Funding: This study was funded by a grant from Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration

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Agriculture Journal: Prevalence and predictors of mental health among farmworkers in Southeastern Anatolia of Turkey

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