Social and emotional impacts of farmwork injuries: An exploratory study

S. M. Robertson, Dennis J. Murphy, Lisa A. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Context: The physical hazards of farming have been extensively studied and reported upon. Far less studied are the social and emotional impacts of farmwork injuries and deaths. Purpose: To investigate and document broad but targeted issues regarding the impact on individuals, families, and communities of farmwork injuries and fatalities of farmer leaders. Methods: Ten incidents of farmwork injuries with disabilities or fatalities in Pennsylvania were used for a collective case study. Data were collected through a total of 47 interview sessions with 66 individuals including next of kin, other family members, injured persons, and community members. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes and issues in this descriptive study. Findings: Community members missed the rich, broad, and comprehensive skills, abilities, and perspectives that farmers brought to community service. Participants expressed that the community assistance and support provided to injured persons and families benefited not only the injured persons and their families and farms but also the community members. Participants reported emotional anguish and loss as well as positive transformations and consequences. As expressed by participants, God and religion play an important role in their beliefs regarding the occurrence and outcome of farmwork injury incidents. Conclusions: Social and emotional impacts on individuals, families, and communities are varied and multileveled. The role that religion and storytelling play in the process of dealing with serious injury incidents raises questions regarding agricultural injury prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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