Key Risk Factors Affecting Farmers' Mental Health: A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 2;16(23):4849. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16234849.


Recently, concern has increased globally over farmers' mental health issues. We present a systematic review of the outcomes, locations, study designs, and methods of current studies on farmers' mental health. In particular, this review aims to fill an important gap in understanding of the potential key risk factors affecting farmers' mental health around the world. 167 articles on farmer mental health were included in a final systematic review using a standardized electronic literature search strategy and PRISMA guidelines. The four most-cited influences on farmers' mental health in the reviewed literature respectively were pesticide exposure, financial difficulties, climate variabilities/drought, and poor physical health/past injuries. The majority of studies were from developed countries, most specifically from the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Comparative studies on the mental health of farmers and other occupational workers showed mixed results, with a larger portion identifying that psychological health disturbances were more common in farmers and farm-workers. Knowledge of farmer psychological disorder risk factors and its impacts are essential for reducing the burden of mental illness. Further research will be required on climate change impacts, developing country farmers' mental health, and information on how to reduce help-seeking barriers amongst farmers.

Keywords: farmers’ mental health; farming stress; mental disorder; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agriculture*
  • Farmers / psychology*
  • Farmers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*