Farmers’ quality of life decreased throughout the duration of the pandemic, Alexis O’Reilly from Maynooth University and the department of agribusiness and spatial analysis at Teagasc said.

“For both farmers and non-farmers in the study, the average scores for depressive symptoms, perceptions of stress and loneliness increased and quality of life declined,” O’Reilly told the conference in Teagasc Ashtown.

For the purpose of the study, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) which focuses on people who are over 50 years of age, was used.

The study began in 2009 and people are revisited every three years to examine their physical health, cognitive health and behavioural health.

Results found that both farmers and non-farmers in 2018 and 2019 were similar in terms of loneliness and quality of life. However, the study shows that farmers had a lower score for depressive symptoms and a higher score for perception of stress than non-farmers.