Promoting psychological adaptation among navy sailors


The mandate of the Institute for Maritime Medicine (IMM) is to support and enhance
the operational performance of sailors of the South African Navy during maritime
operations, while also ensuring positive long-term mental health outcomes of sailors
who serve their country at sea. To achieve this, the IMM proposes to re-orientate the
mobilisation and demobilisation programmes used for ship-based maritime operations
towards a predict-and-promote (P&P) approach, to enhance the psychological adaptation
of sailors to the emotional demands of deployment as well as to support more adaptive
forms of mental health resilience, both before and after sea-going operations.
First, this article aims to present the proposed P&P approach for enhancing
psychological adaptation during and after seaward deployments, with a specific focus
on assessing personal emotional regulation (ER). For effective implementation, this
approach is contingent on several clinical assumptions about ER in the operational
environment, namely: the absence of significant psychopathology; the stability of
the ER measure; the role of dispositional factors in operational adaptation; and the
availability of population-specific normative data, which act as an interpretative guide
of ER profiles for sailors. The second aim is to consider support for these assumptions,
using previous experience during the mobilisation and/or demobilisation of ships
involved in maritime operations. Support was found for all four assumptions, indicating
the clinical and operational utility of the P&P approach at the IMM broadly, and the
assessment of ER for sailors in particular.

Author Biographies

Charles H Van Wijk, Institute for Maritime Medicine


Institute for Maritime Medicine

Jarred H Martin, University of Pretoria

Lecturer : Dept of Psychology

University of Pretoria

How to Cite
Van Wijk, C. H., & Martin, J. H. (2021). Promoting psychological adaptation among navy sailors. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 49(1), 23-34.