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Coping Strategies that New Zealand Dairy Farmers use to combat stress

New Zealand dairy farmers work in an industry which is associated with high levels of stress and increasing rates of suicide. Occupational issues such as economic factors, changes in the industry, time pressures and poor weather have been found to cause strain in farmers (Botha, 2012), however research examining coping strategies for farmers in New Zealand is lacking. This was an exploratory study which aimed to identify coping strategies that New Zealand dairy farmers engage in to eliminate or reduce the effects of stress due to their job. Eleven dairy farmers based in the Waikato region of New Zealand, participated in this study by completing an interview and two questionnaires, the Perceived Stress Scale and the Brief COPE. It was found that the participants reported using a wide range of coping strategies. Thematic analysis identified major themes including work related coping, social related coping, maladaptive coping and personal health. The work related theme included both active coping and constructive thinking as means of coping. The social related coping included leisure activities and social support as coping behaviours. Analysis of the questionnaires found that the participants in this study reported high use of planning, active coping, acceptance, positive reframing, selfdistraction, humour and instrumental support as strategies to cope with stress. The similar results from the questionnaires add support for the themes found in this study. The knowledge of the adaptive coping strategies reportedly used by participants in this study, could help to minimise the negative effects of stress and reduce the high suicide rate in dairy farmers. This study also increases the knowledge of coping strategies used by individuals in high stress occupations such as farming. Further implications of this study, and directions for future research are discussed in the final chapter.
Type of thesis
Kuriger, C. R. (2016). Coping Strategies that New Zealand Dairy Farmers use to combat stress (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10597
University of Waikato
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