Journal of safety research vol:39 issue:1 pages:55-64
PROBLEM: Preventive interventions to reduce occupational injuries and health problems in farmers require the identification of factors that contribute to unsafe and health damaging behavior. This paper describes the development and validation of a self-report questionnaire, which measures the determinants of occupational health-related behaviors in farmers. METHOD: A representative sample of 283 Flemish farmers completed a provisional 135 item questionnaire based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, measuring four behaviors related to occupational health (machinery use, animal handling, preventing falls, and pesticide use), as well as the intentions, attitudes, perceived social norms, and self-efficacy for each of these behaviors. RESULTS: The fit indices of the Confirmatory Factor Analysis turned out not to be sufficient to reproduce the dimensions of the TPB. Therefore exploratory factor analysis was use to determine the underlying dimensions. Principal Component Analyses (PCA) on the behavioral items yielded single component solutions explaining a considerable proportion of the variance for each behavior and for behavioral intentions. Principal component analyses toward an a priori three-component structure reflecting the TPB dimensions did not produce sufficient congruence for the determinants of the four behaviors. Subsequent Varimax rotations and discarding of redundant items resulted in three component solutions explaining 50% to 69% of the variance in the determinants of each behavior, corresponding with the dimensions of the TPB. Internal consistencies ranged from .25 to .89. Scale scores accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in intention and self-reported behavior. IMPACT: The study demonstrates the validity of the TPB in predicting behavior related to occupational safety and health in farmers, and provides a valid and reliable questionnaire to measure the cognitive concepts featured in this model. IMPACT ON INDUSTRY: Both authors share the same view on this study's impact on industry. In recent years, efforts have been made to create awareness among farmers about occupational hazards, and to encourage farmers to perform safer and healthier behavior. However, only a limited number of these interventions have proven to be successful. A possible reason for this relative lack of success is that interventions typically focus on risk analysis and raising awareness, whereas the literature on preventive health behavior change indicates that knowledge and awareness with regard to possible health risks are neither necessary nor sufficient to change behavior. To raise the effectiveness of prevention programs, other relevant determinants of behavior need to be addressed as well, such as: attitudes, perceived social norms, self efficacy, and elements of the physical environment that elicit or reinforce behavior. These determinants play a key role in psychological models of health related behavior, such as the Theory of Planned Behavior. Thus far, the use of these models within agricultural settings is fairly limited. This study demonstrates the validity of the Theory of Planned Behavior in predicting behavior related to occupational safety and health in farmers, and provides a valid and reliable questionnaire to measure the cognitive concepts featured in this model.