open access

Vol 72, No 1 (2021)
Original article
Published online: 2021-03-29
Submitted: 2020-11-20
Accepted: 2021-02-06
Get Citation

Objective and subjective measures to assess stress among seafarers

Hans-Joachim Jensen12, Marcus Oldenburg1
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2021.0007
·
Pubmed: 33829473
·
International Maritime Health 2021;72(1):49-54.
Affiliations
  1. Institute for Occupational and Maritime Medicine Hamburg (ZfAM), University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, Germany
  2. Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, Kanzleistraße 91-93, 24943 Flensburg, Germany

open access

Vol 72, No 1 (2021)
MARITIME PSYCHOLOGY Original article
Published online: 2021-03-29
Submitted: 2020-11-20
Accepted: 2021-02-06

Abstract

Background: Working and living on board merchant vessels often constitute high psychophysical stress for the crews. In this study, the current stress of seafarers is examined by using observation-based and subjective measures.

Materials and methods: The workplaces of 70 crew members on board 11 container ships were analysed and evaluated using the objective instrument for the situational screening of mental workload (SMW-S). In addition, standardised interviews were carried out with 198 seafarers about their subjectively experienced stress.

Results: According to SMW-S, nautical and technical officers experience psychological strain due to their limited decision latitude, risky work situations and the physical and psychosocial working conditions. Among the ratings, psychological distress is more likely due to the limited decision latitude, physical and psychosocial working conditions and low qualification requirements (and, for the engine room ratings, given the low complexity and variability in their work). The interview results show that the irregular work is stressful for 79% of seafarers, the long working periods for 77%, the long working hours per day for 69% and working under time pressure for 62%. Additional psychosocial burdens are present for 95% of seafarers due to family separation and for 65% due to existing social differences in a multicultural occupation.

Conclusions: Considering the stressful work on board, particular attention must be paid to shipping-specific conditions such as long working times, family and socio-cultural separation and living together in a heterogeneous crew.

Abstract

Background: Working and living on board merchant vessels often constitute high psychophysical stress for the crews. In this study, the current stress of seafarers is examined by using observation-based and subjective measures.

Materials and methods: The workplaces of 70 crew members on board 11 container ships were analysed and evaluated using the objective instrument for the situational screening of mental workload (SMW-S). In addition, standardised interviews were carried out with 198 seafarers about their subjectively experienced stress.

Results: According to SMW-S, nautical and technical officers experience psychological strain due to their limited decision latitude, risky work situations and the physical and psychosocial working conditions. Among the ratings, psychological distress is more likely due to the limited decision latitude, physical and psychosocial working conditions and low qualification requirements (and, for the engine room ratings, given the low complexity and variability in their work). The interview results show that the irregular work is stressful for 79% of seafarers, the long working periods for 77%, the long working hours per day for 69% and working under time pressure for 62%. Additional psychosocial burdens are present for 95% of seafarers due to family separation and for 65% due to existing social differences in a multicultural occupation.

Conclusions: Considering the stressful work on board, particular attention must be paid to shipping-specific conditions such as long working times, family and socio-cultural separation and living together in a heterogeneous crew.

Get Citation

Keywords

maritime, strain, stress, situational screening of mental workload

About this article
Title

Objective and subjective measures to assess stress among seafarers

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 72, No 1 (2021)

Article type

Original article

Pages

49-54

Published online

2021-03-29

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2021.0007

Pubmed

33829473

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2021;72(1):49-54.

Keywords

maritime
strain
stress
situational screening of mental workload

Authors

Hans-Joachim Jensen
Marcus Oldenburg

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