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Background: While research on the quality of life (QOL) levels of farmers and ranchers with disabilities is growing, research focused on interventions that improve their behavioral health is almost nonexistent. The AgrAbility Project, a USDA initiative, offers practical solutions to increase farmers and ranchers with disabilities’ QOL and independent living and working (ILW) levels.
Aim of the Study: The objectives of the current study are threefold: first, to assess overall pretest-posttest changes in the ILW and QOL levels of AgrAbility participants; second, to focus on the behavioral health changes of AgrAbility participants; and third, to compare those changes in a group of AgrAbility participants to those of a no-treatment comparison group.
Methods: AgrAbility treatment group participants (N = 273) included farmers and ranchers from 14 states with various disabilities who participated in AgrAbility and no-treatment comparison group participants (N = 100) from 17 states. Both groups completed ILW and McGill Quality of Life surveys.
Results: Paired samples t-tests indicated that AgrAbility participants’ ILW and QOL improved with large or larger than typical effect sizes. Paired samples t tests indicated that AgrAbility participants’ behavioral health improved significantly with medium effect sizes. Independent samples t tests reported significantly higher gain scores on all three behavioral health subscales for AgrAbility participants compared with the group of non-participants.
Conclusions: These results show that participation in the AgrAbility Project was associated with significant improvements in behavioral health when compared to the no-treatment group which experienced no significant change in their behavioral health. The current study makes an initial contribution to the search for an evidence-based intervention for improving the physical and behavioral health of farmers and ranchers with functional limitations.
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