Promoting psychological adaptation among navy sailors


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

Author Biographies

Charles H Van Wijk, Institute for Maritime Medicine
PsychologistInstitute for Maritime Medicine
Jarred H Martin, University of Pretoria
Lecturer : Dept of PsychologyUniversity 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.