Vacations improve mental health among rural women: the Wisconsin Rural Women's Health Study

WMJ. 2005 Aug;104(6):20-3.


Objective: To compare psychological stress, quality of marital life, and disruptive homelife due to work among rural women of central Wisconsin who take vacations frequently and those who do not.

Methods: Women were recruited from 1996 to 2001 for a prospective cohort study from the Marshfield Epidemiologic Study area, a geographic area in central Wisconsin. Stratified sampling was used to select a random sample of 1500 farm and non-farm resident women.

Results: The odds of depression and tension were higher among women who took vacations only once in 2 years (Depression: OR=1.92, 95% CI=1.2,3.0; Tension: OR=1.7, 95%CI=1.2, 2.3) or once in 6 years (Depression: OR=1.97, 95% CI=1.2, 3.2; Tension: OR=1.9, 95% CI=1.3,2.8) compared to women who took vacations twice or more per year. The odds of marital satisfaction decreased as the frequency of vacations decreased.

Conclusion: Women who take vacations frequently are less likely to become tense, depressed, or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriage. These personal psychological benefits that lead to increased quality of life may also lead to improved work performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Marriage
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Rural Population
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Women's Health*