open access

Vol 73, No 3 (2022)
Original article
Submitted: 2022-09-29
Accepted: 2022-09-30
Published online: 2022-10-10
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Impact of work exposure on cognitive performance in Faroese deep-sea fishers: a field study

Annbjørg Selma Abrahamsen12, Pál Weihe12, Wessel M.A. van Leeuwen3, Fróði Debes1
·
Pubmed: 36217969
·
IMH 2022;73(3):150-161.
Affiliations
  1. Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health, The Faroese Hospital System, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
  2. Faculty of Health Sciences, The Faroese University, Torshavn, Faroe Islands
  3. Department of Psychology, Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

open access

Vol 73, No 3 (2022)
MARITIME PSYCHOLOGY Original article
Submitted: 2022-09-29
Accepted: 2022-09-30
Published online: 2022-10-10

Abstract

Background: This study examines the impact of work-related exposure on the cognitive performance of Faroese deep-sea fishers. Faroese fishing crews work long hours in demanding and noisy environments amidst highly uncertain and challenging weather conditions. These factors, together with compromised patterns of rest and sleep, are known to increase fatigue. Our aim was to study if changes could be measured in fishers’ cognitive performance at the end of the trip when compared with the baseline measure at the beginning.

Materials and methods: Data was collected over 15 months (May 2017 to July 2018) from 157 fishers on 18 fishing trips which involved 202 investigative days on board. Questionnaires and six computerised cognitive tests: Simple Reaction Time, Numeric Working Memory, Corsi Blocks, Rapid Visual Information Processing, Digit Vigilance, and Card Sorting Test were used for data collection at the beginning and end of the trip. Differences between the outcomes on the two test points were analysed with one-way ANOVA comparing the performances at the beginning and end of the voyage, and two-way ANOVA to examine the interactive effect of chronotype and test occasions on the outcomes. Mixed models were used to test for the effects of predictor variables.

Results: Significant declines in cognitive performance were observed from the beginning to the end of the trip, with decreases in visuospatial memory and reaction times, and increases in cognitive lapses. Furthermore, slowing in response times was observed in the second half of the Digit Vigilance test when comparing the halves.

Conclusions: Declines in performance were observed from the start to the end of the trip. Furthermore, fishers performed significantly worse in the second half of some parted tests, and evening types seem less influenced by irregular work hours. These findings call for improving the safety of the vessels and their crew.

Abstract

Background: This study examines the impact of work-related exposure on the cognitive performance of Faroese deep-sea fishers. Faroese fishing crews work long hours in demanding and noisy environments amidst highly uncertain and challenging weather conditions. These factors, together with compromised patterns of rest and sleep, are known to increase fatigue. Our aim was to study if changes could be measured in fishers’ cognitive performance at the end of the trip when compared with the baseline measure at the beginning.

Materials and methods: Data was collected over 15 months (May 2017 to July 2018) from 157 fishers on 18 fishing trips which involved 202 investigative days on board. Questionnaires and six computerised cognitive tests: Simple Reaction Time, Numeric Working Memory, Corsi Blocks, Rapid Visual Information Processing, Digit Vigilance, and Card Sorting Test were used for data collection at the beginning and end of the trip. Differences between the outcomes on the two test points were analysed with one-way ANOVA comparing the performances at the beginning and end of the voyage, and two-way ANOVA to examine the interactive effect of chronotype and test occasions on the outcomes. Mixed models were used to test for the effects of predictor variables.

Results: Significant declines in cognitive performance were observed from the beginning to the end of the trip, with decreases in visuospatial memory and reaction times, and increases in cognitive lapses. Furthermore, slowing in response times was observed in the second half of the Digit Vigilance test when comparing the halves.

Conclusions: Declines in performance were observed from the start to the end of the trip. Furthermore, fishers performed significantly worse in the second half of some parted tests, and evening types seem less influenced by irregular work hours. These findings call for improving the safety of the vessels and their crew.

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Keywords

fishers, fatigue, cognitive decline, Digit Vigilance, Simple Reaction Time, Visuospatial Memory, the Psychomotor Vigilance Tests

About this article
Title

Impact of work exposure on cognitive performance in Faroese deep-sea fishers: a field study

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 73, No 3 (2022)

Article type

Original article

Pages

150-161

Published online

2022-10-10

Page views

3976

Article views/downloads

301

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2022.0028

Pubmed

36217969

Bibliographic record

IMH 2022;73(3):150-161.

Keywords

fishers
fatigue
cognitive decline
Digit Vigilance
Simple Reaction Time
Visuospatial Memory
the Psychomotor Vigilance Tests

Authors

Annbjørg Selma Abrahamsen
Pál Weihe
Wessel M.A. van Leeuwen
Fróði Debes

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