Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Carrie Redlich


Objective/Purpose: The Philippines is the largest occupational source of seafarers for the international shipping industry. Inherent to this occupation are the recurrent and long duration deployments overseas away from the seafarers’ families and communities which may negatively impact family wellness. In this qualitative study, we explored challenges that Filipino seafaring families face and identified protective factors for family and community well-being.Methods: Participants were selected by purposeful and snowball sampling. Participants were seafarers and their families. We conducted semi-structured interviews which were audio-recorded, transcribed, and loaded on Dedoose to facilitate line-by-line coding. Data was analyzed with a grounded theory approach using inductive coding. Concepts were categorized to build themes. Results: We conducted 31 interviews with seafarers and their families. We identified 6 main themes that emerged as challenges and opportunities: 1) Obtaining a Contract- A complex process that can put the seafarer at risk for illegitimate or unsafe work, 2) Long Duration Deployments- Can negatively impact mental health, 3) Communication at Sea- An opportunity for improved wellness, 4) The Left Behind Family- Impact and Coping Strategies, 5) “Vacation is Not Really Vacation”- Temporary, unstable work contracts is inherent to work as a seafarer, and 6) Planning for Life After Seafaring- Families must financially prepare for the inevitability of retirement, whether it is a planned or unplanned retirement. Discussion: Given the current and continued predicted shortage of seafarers in global shipping, shipping companies must focus efforts on the retention of seafarers and increasing the number of years of service at sea by meeting the mental health and social needs of seafarers and their families.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access

Included in

Public Health Commons