• 1 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Development, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Nerus 21030, Terengganu, Malaysia
  • 2 Faculty of Engineering, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, 550025 Sibiu, Romania
  • 3 Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh 23111, Indonesia
  • 4 Faculty of Sciences, University of Petrosani, 332006 Petrosani, Romania
PMID: 36833563 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph20042866


Due to unpredictable and demanding working circumstances and the significant potential for dangers and accidents, seafaring has been characterised as one of the world's riskiest and stressful vocations that lead to physical and mental health problems. However, very few instruments measure work-related stress, particularly in a seafaring context. None of the instruments are psychometrically sound. Therefore, a valid and reliable instrument to measure seafaring work-related stress is indispensable. This study aims to review work-related stress instruments and to explore the work-related stress construct among seafarers in Malaysia. This study uses a systematic review and semi-structured interviews across two phases. In Phase 1, we conducted a systematic review of several databases: Academic Search Ultimate, Emerald Journal Premier, Journal Storage (JSTOR), ScienceDirect, Springer Link, Taylor and Francis Online, and Wiley Online Library based on Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analyses (PRISMA). In 8975 articles, only 4 (four) studies used psychological instruments and 5 (five) studies used survey questionnaires to measure work-related stress. In Phase 2, we conducted a semi-structured interview with 25 (twenty-five) seafarers, online due to COVID-19 restrictions. The semi-structured interview indicated 6 (six) themes, namely, physical stress, personal issues, social living onboard, technostress, work factors, and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. In conclusion, the present study has identified three psychometric instruments for measuring work-related stress among seafarers: The Psychological General Well-Being Index, Perceived Stress Scale, and Job Content Questionnaire. We also found psychometric elements in some of the instruments are questionable, such as theoretical basis, construct development, and inadequate internal consistency value. In addition, this study also found that work-related stress is a multidimensional construct that needs to be studied based on work contexts. The findings of this study can contribute to the body of knowledge of a work-related stress construct in a seafaring context and could help to inform policy makers in the maritime industry. This study suggests a psychological instrument to measure work-related stress among seafarers in future studies.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.