Psychosocial issues and sleep quality among seafarers: a mixed methods study

Fereshteh Baygi*, Farzad Shidfar*, Ali Sheidaei, Aliasghar Farshad, Morteza Mansourian, Christine Blome


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Background: Seafarers, especially those working for a prolonged period of time, are exposed to a high number of social, psychological and physical stressors including irregular working hours. Aim: This study aims to identify important aspects of Asian seafarers’ psychosocial wellbeing and quality of sleep that could affect safety and health of the seafarers in long voyage tankers. Methods: In this mixed method study, psychological health issues were investigated through semi-structured interviews with 17 Asian male seafarers. Participants were selected through purposive sampling. In the quantitative phase, 179 seafarers completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) on sleep quality. Results: From the interviews, three categories consisting of six themes emerged, including sleep abnormalities, inevitable stressors, and lack of social communication. The majority of the seafarers believed that their quality of sleep was affected by their physical work environment and by issues raised by their families. As reasons for stress at sea, they mentioned the nature of the occupation and the psychosocial work environment. Most participants pointed out that lack of social communications had adverse effects on both their work lives on board and their private lives at home. In the quantitative phase, the response rate was 81.4%. Mean PSQI index was 5.9 (SD 2.6 and range from 2 to 14). Sleep impairment was higher in academic than non-academic individuals (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Sleep abnormalities and lack of social communication should be considered as modifiable risk factors for seafarers’ psychosocial well-being at sea.

TidsskriftBMC Public Health
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 9. apr. 2022


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