Kent State student researcher wants to know what keeps farmers ticking

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KENT, Ohio – Sharon Claffey wants to learn about life on the farm.
Claffey, a doctoral student at Kent State University, is researching the day-to-day lives of men who live and work on family farms.
Originally from New Jersey, Claffey’s interest in farm populations started at 16 when she worked on a living history farm.
Longstreet Farm, in Holmdel, N.J., is an educational farm, operating like the farms of the 1890s.
“I decided on this topic as part of an evolution of research that I’ve done,” Claffey said.
Her first idea was to study newly married couples and the support they give each other. Then, she decided to combine her two passions, psychology and rural populations.
“I want to see how the daily lives of rural individuals differ from urban individuals,” she said.
Her interviews will focus on the support and interaction of farm families.
Rural research. There is not enough research done on rural populations, said Claffey, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in counseling psychology.
She believes there is not as much research in this area because physicians are not as readily available or people don’t go to them as often as in urban settings, she said.
Many researchers use statistics on health-related issues gathered by local doctors, such as the prevalence of disease in a certain area.
If rural people are less likely to seek professional help, the physicians’ statistics may be inaccurate, Claffey said.
Interviewee. She is looking for male farmers between 18-55 with at least one child under 16 living at home.
Participants who complete a 20-minute phone interview will be entered into a $100 raffle.
Claffey hopes to interview 100-150 farmers and will be conducting interviews through the fall.
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