A Systematic Review of Assessment Methods for Seafarers' Mental Health and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Carrera-Arce M, Baumler R, Hollander J

Inquiry 60 (-) 469580231212218 [2023-11-17; online 2023-11-17]

Seafarers spend more time at sea than on land, which makes them a hard-to-reach community. Since their mental health and well-being is usually addressed from a land-based perspective, dedicated and validated methods incorporating maritime specificities are lacking. During the COVID-19 pandemic, research into seafarers' mental health and well-being flourished. However, a systematic review of the literature to assess the type and appropriateness of assessment methods pertaining to the mental health and well-being of seafarers has yet to be undertaken. This study reviews 5 databases (ERIC, Scopus, PubMed, Google Scholar and EBSCO) to assess the methods used to examine seafarers' mental health and well-being during the pandemic. Peer-reviewed literature alongside grey literature that applied quantitative or qualitative instruments to measure seafarers' mental health and/or well-being, published in English between March 2020 and February 2023, was eligible for the review. Studies from all geographic regions and regardless of nationality, rank and ship type of the subjects were explored. Database searches produced 272 records. Five additional records were identified via other methods. We identified 27 studies suitable for review, including 24 published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and 3 reports and surveys produced by the industry or welfare organizations. Assessment methods used to measure seafarers' mental health and well-being vary significantly in the literature. The frequent use of ad hoc questionnaires limits the possibility to replicate and compare the studies due to various inconsistencies. Furthermore, several validation and reliability measures needed more solidity when applied to the seafaring population. Such inadequate measuring and a mix of assessment methods impacted the comparison of results and might inflate the risks of underreporting or overstating mental complaints.

Category: Social Science & Humanities

Type: Review

PubMed 37970799

DOI 10.1177/00469580231212218

Crossref 10.1177/00469580231212218

pmc: PMC10655656

Publications 9.5.0