Association Between COPD Symptoms and Psychological Distress Among Farmers

Academic Article


  • Background: Farmers have an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and psychological distress. The potential role of psychological distress in worsening COPD symptoms has been reported among the general population, but no studies have examined this relationship among farmers with COPD, which is the purpose of this study. Methods: This study used the data from the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Farmers reporting both psychological distress and COPD symptoms were included in this study (n = 239). Both unadjusted and adjusted logistic regressions were used to explore the association among psychological distress, age, health status, smoking, and COPD symptoms, with crude and adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% CIs reported. Findings: The unadjusted analysis suggested that COPD symptoms were significantly associated with psychological distress among farmers (OR = 2.05 [1.18, 3.58]). While adjusted models showed the significant association between COPD symptoms and psychological distress among farmers after controlling for smoking, age, and health status (adjusted OR = 2.08 [1.10, 4.01]). Conclusion/Implications for Practice: These results suggest that psychological distress is associated with an increased risk of COPD symptoms in farmers, which is consistent with observations from studies in non-farmers. Occupational health professionals need to provide screen for COPD among farmers as well as psychological distress screening and mental health promotion among farmers with COPD.
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  • Kham-ai P; Heaton K; Li P