Psychological distress among mountainous farmers in Vietnam: A cross-sectional study of prevalence and associated factors

Men Thi Hoang, Khanh Nam Do, Hai Quang Pham, Cuong Tat Nguyen, Giang Hai Ha, Giang Thu Vu, Bach Xuan Tran, Carl Latkin, Roger C.M. Ho, Cyrus S.H. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Psychological distress has been known as a major health problem among farmers across the world. In Vietnam, approximately 50% of farmers have lived in rural and mountainous areas. Yet, little has been known about how psychological distress impacts mountainous farmers' health. Objectives This study aimed to examine the prevalence and risk factors related to psychological distress among mountainous farmers in Vietnam. Design and setting A cross-sectional study was performed from August to September 2018 in Moc Chau district, Vietnam. A structured questionnaire and face-to-face interviews were used for data collection. Participants A random sample of 197 farmers aged at least 18 years, spoke Vietnamese, was not suffering from severe diseases and residing in Moc Chau at the time of the survey were recruited. Primary and secondary outcome measures The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6) was employed to measure psychological distress. The tobit and logistic regressions were applied to indicate associated factors. Results The prevalence of psychological distress was 38.2% (95% CI 31.3% to 45.5%). Having a greater comorbidities (OR=6.17; 95% CI 1.44 to 26.43), drinking alcohol (OR=3.86; 95% CI 1.02 to 14.59) and obtaining health information from health workers (OR=3.77; 95% CI 1.22 to 11.66) were positively associated with the prevalence of psychological distress. By contrast, being overweight (OR=0.29; 95% CI 0.09 to 0.93), adopting books as the primary source of health information (OR=0.11; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.8), and receiving a higher number of home visits by community health workers (CHWs) (OR=0.38; 95% CI 0.14 to 0.99) were negatively associated with the prevalence of psychological distress. Conclusion This study highlighted a high prevalence of psychological distress among mountainous farmers. Providing routine psychological and physical health screening, developing CHWs to provide clinical support and raising health awareness are critical implications for reducing psychological distress in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere038490
JournalBMJ open
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 6 2020


  • adult psychiatry
  • anxiety disorders
  • depression & mood disorders
  • mental health
  • public health
  • statistics & research methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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