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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Perceived Physical and Psychosocial Exposure and Health Symptoms of Dairy Farm Staff and Possible Associations with Dairy Cow Health

Lunner, Kolstrup Christina; Hultgren, Jan


The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of work-related physical and psychosocial exposure and health symptoms of farm staff working in indoor loose-housing dairy systems in Sweden, and to examine possible associations between exposure and health symptoms of farm staff and disease incidence in their dairy herds. A sample of 41 farm owners or managers and 20 directly employed farm workers participated, each from a Swedish dairy farm with loose-housed cows. Mailed questionnaires comprising 29 questions were used to create four separate indices representing physical exposure, psychosocial exposure, physical symptoms, and psychosocial symptoms. Cow herd incidence rates of common veterinary-reported clinical diseases were calculated based on official records. Partial Spearman rank correlation was used to analyze associations. The study confirmed that physical and psychosocial exposure and health symptoms are not uncommon among owners/managers and employed workers. The study also found that farm owners/managers experience more physical symptoms in dairy herds with lower cow disease incidence rates, while more frequent or intensive exposure to negative psychosocial work environment factors among employed dairy workers is associated with a high herd disease incidence rate


Animal health; Dairy cow; Exposure; Farmer; Farm worker; Partial Spearman rank correlation; Physical; Psychosocial; Questionnaire; Symptom

Published in

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
2011, volume: 17, number: 2, pages: 111-125
Publisher: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science
Veterinary Science
Agricultural Science
Food Science

URI (permanent link to this page)