Introduction 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), its extreme form posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sense of coherence (SOC) among seafarers in relation to occupational and leisure time physical activity (PhA).
Methods 248 seafarers, attending the Maritime Medical Centre in Klaipeda for the mandatory health examination answered the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), 169 seafarers answered the questionnaire on PTSD and 335 on SOC. The prevalence of PD, PTSD and SOC among seafarers was evaluated and the correlations with occupational PhA were calculated. The mean values of the 3 scales were compared to 4 groups of occupational and 3 groups of leisure time PhA. The differences in means were tested by significance level (p < 0.05). The statistical software SPSS 13.0 for Windows was used in the statistical analysis.
Results The prevalence of PD among seafarers was 9.3%, PTSD 5.3%, weak SOC 24.2%. Spearman’s correlation between SOC and PD was 0.211 (p < .01), between SOC and PTSD 0.211(p < 0.01). PTSD was negatively correlated with occupational physical activity (Spearman’s correlation −0.249 (p < 0.01), showing higher PTSD levels in low occupational physical activity groups. 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 a compared to the investigations among other occupations. Posttraumatic stress disorder negatively correlated with occupational physical activity. Sense of coherence among the seafarers was weaker in the heavy occupational physical activity group.
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