Farmer Burnout in Canada

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 12;16(24):5074. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16245074.


While farmers in several countries worldwide are reported to be at higher risk for poor mental health outcomes like chronic stress, depression, and anxiety, there is a paucity of research on burnout in farmers. This cross-sectional study used an online survey administered between September 2015 and February 2016 to investigate burnout (as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS)) amongst farmers in Canada. The specific objectives were to measure the three components of burnout (exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy), and to explore potential associated risk factors, as well as to determine the prevalence of the different burnout profiles (engaged, ineffective, overextended, disengaged, and burnout). MBI-GS results were obtained from 1075 farmers. Approximately 70% of the study sample identified as male and 30% as female, and participants were from a variety of farming commodities. Scores for exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy were all higher than international norms. While 43% of participants were classified as engaged, 44% were classified in the ineffective, overextended, or disengaged profiles (i.e., intermediate profiles on the engagement - burnout continuum), and 12% were classified in the burnout profile. Risk factor results highlighted the positive effects of farmer support from spouse/romantic partner, friends, and industry. Overall, the results from this study demonstrate cause for concern with respect to farmer burnout, suggest potential avenues for intervention, and serve as a call to action to better support farmers in Canada.

Keywords: agriculture; burnout; cynicism; exhaustion; farmers; professional efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Agriculture
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Farmers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult