Purposes: To (a) describe the self-reported perceptions of health among a group of farm/ranch women with chronic illness, and (b) examine the women’s impressions of the impact of farm/ranch living on their health.
Sample and Methods: A secondary analysis was done with data generated from a paper/pencil survey of 21 farm/ranch women with chronic illnesses who participated in the Women to Women (WTW) computer-based support and health education project at Montana State University during the past decade. Questions were related to perceived general health status, health as it relates to chronic illness, and health problems associated with farm/ranch living and work.
Findings: Farm/ranch women perceived their health positively. In addition to their chronic illnesses, some had illnesses or injuries related to living and or working on a farm/ranch, though few attributed their health problems to the farm/ranch life style.
Conclusions: Rural healthcare providers need to be aware of the challenges faced by farm/ranch women with chronic illness such as: isolation, healthcare access, healthcare costs, fatigue, pain, and feelings of anger and guilt. In response, they must provide preventive counsel for the health risks, e.g., injuries, skin conditions, hearing impairment, respiratory disease, which may be associated with living and working on a farm/ranch.
Key words: chronic illness, farm/ranch health, rural women
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