Objectives Seafaring is a specific occupation due to long-term isolation from the society and the family. The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of psychological distress (PD) and sense of coherence (SOC) among seafarers in relation to occupational and leisure time physical activity (PhA).
Method 248 seafarers, attending the Maritime Medical Centre in Klaipeda for the mandatory health examination answered the anonymous questionnaire (GHQ-12) and SOC. The mean values of 2 scales were compared in 4 groups of occupational and 3 groups of leisure time PhA. The differences in means were tested by significance level (p < . 05). The statistical software SPSS 13.0 for Windows was used in the statistical analysis.
Results The prevalence of PD among seafarers was 9.3%, weak SOC 24.2%. Spearman’s correlation between SOC and PD was 0.211 (p < 00.01). SOC was correlated with occupational (Spearman’s correlation 0.108 (p < 0.05) and leisure time (Spearman’s correlation 0.114 (p < 0.05) PhA. SOC was weaker in the heavy occupational PhA group and showed no difference between leisure time PhA groups. The mean values of the GHQ-12 scale showed no differences in the occupational and leisure time PhA groups.
Conclusions Psychological distress was not more prevalent among seafarers as compared to the investigations among other occupations in Italy, UK, the Netherlands and Sweden. Sense of coherence among seafarers was weaker in the heavy occupational physical activity group, confirming the findings in the other investigations (weaker SOC in lower socioeconomic status groups).
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