Vocational Psychology for Agriculture

As the human population continues to grow, the demand for food continues to outstrip the security of its supply.  This conundrum is not a problem of any single nation state; it is an international problem—a problem for humanity. Its importance is manifest in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Despite halving the prevalence of extreme hunger since the inception of the MDGs, the rate of improvement is decelerating and more effort is required to maintain the downward trajectory of the prevalence of hunger (United Nations, 2014). Regular access to nutritious food is not just a problem of production and supply, as there are other causes such as conflict and corruption; however, sustainable and equitable production of food is a vital part of the solution.  ACCELL has the SDGs within its vision and aims to conduct R&D that is useful and, moreover, vital.

As a branch of applied psychology, vocational psychology has the scientific and professional capability to make a substantive contribution to agriculture. To that end, the three objectives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) succinctly capture the intent of the research agenda for the Vocational Psychology of Agriculture—Farming Food and Fibre (VPA—FFF; McIlveen, 2015; McIlveen & McDonald, 2018) that is advanced by ACCELL:

  1. the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition;
  2. the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and,
  3. the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations (FAO, 2015).

Thus, the VPA—FFF is motivated by an ethical mandate to contribute to the social and emotional well-being of the world’s population. Continue reading “Vocational Psychology for Agriculture”

Unemployment and Underemployment are Scourges

Public Health Problem

Unemployment and underemployment are scourges—nothing short of a problem of public health of pandemic proportions. Unemployed people are at greater risk of poorer physical health (Griep et al., 2015) and mental health (Wanberg, 2012), including suicidal behavior (Breuer, 2014; Drydakis, 2014; Madianos, Alexiou, Patelakis, & Economou, 2014; Milner, Morrell, & LaMontagne, 2014; Milner, Page, & LaMontagne, 2013, 2014), and change in personality, such as agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness (Boyce, Wood, Daly, & Sedikides, 2015).  It is alarming that poverty is associated with diminished cognitive development in children (Dickerson & Popli, 2016; Heberle & Carter, 2015; Kalil, Duncan, & Ziol-Guest, 2016).

Unemployment not only diminishes mental health but also, in turn, poorer mental health is a risk factor for unemployment (Butterworth, Leach, Pirkis, & Kelaher, 2012; Olesen, Butterworth, Leach, Kelaher, & Pirkis, 2013), which sets up a vicious cycle that entraps those with mental health issues in poverty. Furthermore, poor quality employment confers similar negative effects on mental health. Tragically, suicide is concomitant to unemployment (Milner, Morrell, et al., 2014; Milner, Page, et al., 2014; Norstrom & Gronqvist, 2015; Reeves, McKee, & Stuckler, 2014) and evident higher rates of suicide within the first five years of unemployment (Milner et al., 2013).  With the provision of interventions for unemployment and re-employment within their professional domain, career practitioners must be alert to mental health concerns and suicidality for their clients (Popadiuk, 2013). Continue reading “Unemployment and Underemployment are Scourges”

SVP 2016 Conference e-Book

The Society of Vocational Psychology has released an e-book of the keynote papers and a selection of special topics presented at the 2016 SVP Conference held at the beautiful Tallahassee campus of Florida State University.

Sampson, J. P., Bullock-Yowell, E., Dozier, V. C., Osborn, D. S., & Lenz, J. G. (Eds.). (2017). Integrating theory, research, and practice in vocational psychology: Current status and future directions. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Libraries.

Thanks to the authors and editors for sharing this magnificent collection of papers.  The book is licensed under Creative Commons and can be downloaded as an e-book free of charge, or printed on demand for a small fee.