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Open AccessArticle

Stress and Strain among Seafarers Related to the Occupational Groups

Institute for Occupational and Maritime Medicine Hamburg (ZfAM), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), 20459 Hamburg, Germany
Institute for Occupational and Maritime Medicine Hamburg (ZfAM), Department of Maritime Medicine, 20459 Hamburg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1153;
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 30 March 2019
PDF [293 KB, uploaded 30 March 2019]


The present study analyses whether the stress and strain experienced by seafarers differ between the various occupational groups on board container ships. In a maritime field study, 323 sailors on 22 container ships were asked to complete a questionnaire and were biometrically surveyed. In addition, a survey of energy expenditure and heart rate (variability) was carried out with the SenseWear® armband monitor and the Polar RS800 watch, respectively. The activity data objectively collected by the armband monitor showed an average sleep duration of 5.0 h per day, with particularly short sleep episodes amongst nautical officers. This occupational group also significantly more frequently reported sleep deficits (67%). The highest work-related energy expenditure per day was among the deck ratings (801 kcal), followed by the engine room personnel (777 kcal), and finally the nautical officers (568 kcal). The last-mentioned group, who were also the most likely to experience mental stress in the workplace, had the lowest heart rate variability compared to the other occupational groups. The average working time was the only stress parameter that correlated significantly negatively with the heart rate variability (r = −0.387; p = 0.002). Overall, job-related stressors of seafarers on board should be objectified in further studies and occupational group-specific health promotion programmes should be developed. View Full-Text
Keywords: maritime; occupational groups; stress; strain; seafarer maritime; occupational groups; stress; strain; seafarer
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Oldenburg, M.; Jensen, H.-J. Stress and Strain among Seafarers Related to the Occupational Groups. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1153.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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