King's College London

Research portal

Mental health and psychological wellbeing of maritime personnel: a systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number139
JournalBMC Psychology
Issue number1
Published30 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response, a partnership between the UK Health Security Agency, King’s College London and the University of East Anglia. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, UKHSA or the Department of Health and Social Care. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising. The funders had no role in carrying out the review or preparing the manuscript for publication. Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).


  • April 2022 Maritime Review

    April_2022_Maritime_Review.docx, 94.7 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    Uploaded date:21 Jun 2022

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


Seafaring has frequently been reported to be a ‘risky occupation’ in terms of both physical and mental health. Individuals working in seafaring professions are exposed to various stressors in the workplace, including social isolation, exposure to poor physical conditions and long work hours. This systematic review aimed to update previous reviews by collating recent literature (published between 2012 and 2021) on the factors associated with mental health and wellbeing in seafaring personnel.

Four electronic databases were searched in April 2021 for primary peer-reviewed studies on factors associated with the mental health and psychological wellbeing of seafarers or interventions to improve the wellbeing of seafarers, published in English in or after the year 2012. Thematic analysis was used to synthesise the data and standardised measures of quality appraisal were used to assess risk of bias.

Sixty-three studies were reviewed. Risk factors for poor mental health among seafarers appear to be younger age; being single; poor physical health; exposure to noise/vibration; feeling unsafe; high job demands; long working hours; night/irregular shifts; poor sleep; poor team cohesion; poor perception of management; poor social support; lack of autonomy; scheduling uncertainties; long duration at sea; and over-commitment.

There are numerous steps that maritime managers could take to improve the wellbeing of their personnel, including increased monitoring of the potential for poor mental health in their staff, increasing crew numbers and provision of education and support.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454