Vol 71, No 3 (2020)
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Published online: 2020-09-28

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Training seafarers to deal with multicultural crew members and stress on board

Hans-Joachim Jensen12, Marcus Oldenburg2
Pubmed: 33001428
IMH 2020;71(3):174-180.


Background: The present study describes the intercultural differences in the perception of stress and the preparation of seafarers.
Materials and methods: Three hundred twenty-three seafarers (156 [48.3%] Europeans and 167 [51.7%] Southeast Asians) were interviewed about their subjective stress on board.
Results: According to the interviews with ship’s officers, mostly represented by Europeans, mental stress was most often due to high responsibilities (82.0%), extensive administrative tasks (81.1%) and lack of qualification of seafarers (64.8%). Subjectively, the Europeans questioned were significantly more likely to experience mental stress on board than the Southeast Asians (74.2% vs. 56.3%), whereas the latter were more prone to being physically stressed. 43.1% of the Southeast Asian seafarers often felt lonely on board compared with 26.2% of the Europeans. Preparation for maritime-specific stress in the form of specific training units is only provided in 1 of the 5 universities surveyed. The most important reason for this is a lack of time. Intercultural leadership training was also only offered at one university.
Conclusions: In view of the many psychophysical stressors in daily life on a ship and the lacking respective education, it is recommended to integrate stress management and diversity training in intercultural communication in the higher education of future superiors on board.

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