Fear of COVID-19 in Seafarers: Association with Psychological Distress

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Toygar A., Yıldırım U.

JOURNAL OF ETA MARITIME SCIENCE, vol.11, no.3, pp.148-158, 2023 (ESCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.4274/jems.2023.58966
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Applied Science & Technology Source, Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.148-158
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Since its inception, the coronavirus pandemic has caused serious social, economic, and health problems around the world. Seafarers have been identified as key workers in mitigating the negative impact of the coronavirus on global trade and ensuring the delivery of medical and hygiene supplies to regions in need. However, the complete closure policies implemented by certain countries have led to prolonged periods on board for seafarers with expired contracts and economic hardship for those unable to join new assignments. Seafarers who spend long periods on board a ship must deal with issues that may affect their psychological state. Therefore, it is important to identify the factors that cause seafarers to experience psychological distress and to develop relevant strategies to address them. The aim of this study was to determine the association between seafarers’ fear of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) and psychological distress including symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. The questionnaire used the fear of COVID-19 Scale and the expression, Anxiety and Stress Scale), which have strong psychometric properties. Data were collected from 425 qualified seafarers working on international merchant ships and analyzed by structural equation modeling using AMOS-24. The results indicate that seafarers’ fear of COVID-19 is positively associated with symptoms of anxiety and stress but not with depression. Maritime companies, sectoral organizations, and policymakers should collaborate to reduce these associations among seafarers. A unified management approach improved access to health services, and regular mental health assessments can be effective solutions.