Disability pension and symptoms of anxiety and depression: a prospective comparison of farmers and other occupational groups. The HUNT Study, Norway.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonBMJ Open 2015, 5:e009114(11) 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009114
Objectives: Agriculture has undergone major changes, and farmers have been found to have a high prevalence of depression symptoms. We investigated the risk of work disability in Norwegian farmers compared with other occupational groups, as well as the associations between symptoms of anxiety and depression and future disability pension. Methods: We linked working participants of the HUNT2 Survey (1995–97) aged 20–61.9 years, of whom 3495 were farmers and 25 521 had other occupations, to national registry data on disability pension, with follow-up until 31 December 2010. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of disability pension, and to investigate the associations between symptoms of anxiety and depression caseness at baseline (score on the anxiety or depression subscales of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) ≥8) and disability pension. Results: Farmers had a twofold increased risk of disability pension (age-adjusted and sex-adjusted HR 2.07, 95% CI 1.80 to 2.38) compared with higher grade professionals. Farmers with symptoms of depression caseness had a 53% increased risk of disability pension (HR 1.53, 95% CI 1.25 to 1.87) compared with farmers below the cut-off point of depression caseness symptoms, whereas farmers with symptoms of anxiety caseness had a 51% increased risk (HR 1.51, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.86). Conclusions: Farmers have an increased risk of disability pension compared with higher grade professionals, but the risk is lower than in most other manual occupational groups. Farmers who report high levels of depression or anxiety symptoms are at substantially increased risk of future work disability, and the risk increase appears to be fairly similar across most occupational groups.