Depression, Anxiety and Stress Among Young Farmers and Ranchers: A Pilot Study

Josie M. Rudolphi, Richard L. Berg, Ajay Parsaik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Agriculture has been identified as a stressful industry and there is evidence that chronic stress may contribute to the development or progression of mental health disorders, specifically anxiety and depression. Young adult farmers and ranchers may be at increased risk of mental health disorders when compared to more experienced counterparts due to additional stressors. The objectives of this study were to identify the occupational stressors of young adult farmers and ranchers in the Midwest and estimate the prevalence of anxiety and depression among this population. An online survey consisting of reliable and valid instruments was used to identify the sources of stress and prevalence of anxiety and depression among the young farming and ranching population. The survey included items related to stress, anxiety, depression, general health, and farm/personal demographics. A total of 170 young farmers and ranchers responded to the survey. The mean age of the sample was 28.9 (SD 4.4) years. Approximately 71% of respondents met the criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7 score ≥ 5) and 53% met the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (PHQ-9 score ≥ 5). Of seven presented stress domains, personal finances and time pressures were the sources of greatest concern. Personal finances, time pressures, economic conditions, and employee relations were associated with anxiety and depression. The burden of depression and anxiety is high among young adult farmers and ranchers. Stressors commonly affiliated with farming and ranching are associated with anxiety and depression. Additional research should further explore the burden of mental health disorders among the population and examine protective factors for mental illness and opportunities for interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Agricultural safety and health
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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