ERIC Number: ED255339
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Feb-19
Reference Count: 0
Rural Stress: Myths and Realities.
Hansen, Thomas D.; McIntire, Walter G.
A comparison between the common myths of "rural existence" and the documented realities of rural living explodes the myth that rural living is generally stress free, shows that life stress in rural settings can have deleterious effects on the function of individual and family, and provides a basis for exploring some implications of rural stress for the provision of social services. A simplistic definition of stress--the nonspecific response of the body to any demand--is useful for understanding the interactions between individuals or families and the environment. Although the rural lifestyle is often pictured as peaceful, slow, and free of stress, for many rural residents life is often characterized by harsh circumstances that threaten the very fabric of their existence. Rural residents experience: greater incidence, prevalence, and severity of malnutritution than their urban counterparts; the nation's highest rates of maternal and infant mortality; higher unemployment and underemployment rates; a greater increase in the divorce rate; and a greater incidence of poverty, substandard housing, and contaminated drinking water. There are three significant categories of rural stressors: economic and employment, community, and environmental. Only after caseworkers and agencies recognize and understand rural stressors and their attendant deleterious effects can appropriate intervention strategies and policies be addressed. (BRR)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: A draft of this paper was presented at the 9th National/2nd International Institute on Social Work in Rural Areas (Orono, ME, July 28-31, 1984).