Quality of life and independent living and working levels of farmers and ranchers with disabilities

Danielle M. Jackman, Ph.D., Robert J. Fetsch, Ph.D , Christina L. Collins, M.S.
Disability and Health Journal April 2016, Volume 9, Issue 2
Published online: September 30, 2015
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2015.09.002


The status of farmers and ranchers with disabilities has been understudied. Understanding this population’s quality of life (QOL) and independent living and working (ILW) levels have the potential to be informative for changes in public policy and service provision.


To assess QOL levels among farmers and ranchers with disabilities as well as explore a conceptual model of ILW accounting for variance in QOL levels.


Participants (N = 398) included farmers and ranchers with varying disabilities. Descriptive information was gathered using the McGill Quality of Life (MQOL) and ILW measures. The MQOL measure produces an objective and comprehensive profile of one’s QOL across several domains. ILW was used to account for variance in QOL scores. We also examined whether there were any differences in QOL and or ILW based on type of disability.


There were no differences in type of disability and QOL levels. The mean QOL level was 5.50 (SD = 1.67; N = 398). The sample rated support and existential well-being the highest among the QOL subscales, which confounds previous research. Further, age group and ILW accounted for 16.2% of the variance in QOL levels, P < .001.


With this sample of farmers and ranchers with disabilities, age group and ILW account for significant variance in QOL. Health professionals can use these findings to support and assess improvements in clients’ ILW, self-determination, and QOL. Future research is needed to explore further the effects of QOL and ILW in this population.