Daily Stresses Affecting Women and Men in the Fleet


Name: Lucy Sammons

Rank: CAPT(Sel), USNR

Organization: Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: USS Abraham Lincoln, San Ramon, CA

Year Published: 1995

Abstract Status: Initial


As the Armed Forces move towards fuller integration and expanded opportunities for women, challenges are presented in assuring that these processes occur in a manner that maintains each Service member in optimal health for operational readiness. The environment and demands of life in the Navy fleet provide their own stresses, which may be magnified by change and transition as women enter new workplaces, assume new roles, and move into living spaces on previously prohibited vessels. Identification and reduction of stress is a key element in the creation and maintenance of high-level quality of life, optimal wellness, disease prevention, and maximum contribution to mission accomplishment. The time to initiate research into shipboard stress is now, while the initial combatant vessels are taking on their first female crew members, and other ships are preparing for the embarkation of women. The aims of this study are to describe the daily stresses of shipboard life in the gender-integrated fleet and the relationship of stress to selected health care behaviors. The following research questions will be addressed: (1) What are the frequency and severity of daily hassles experienced by enlisted women and men in the fleet? (2) Do perceptions of daily hassles vary by gender? rate? berthing arrangements? (3) Are perceived daily hassles related to a) the frequency of health care use? b) general feelings of well-being? c) smoking behavior? Based on transactional stress theory, a correlational design will be employed in a study to survey 400 sailors deployed on a gender-integrated combatant vessel. Questionnaires will include demographic and health data and the Daily Hassles Scale, a well-established 117-item instrument for measurement of daily life stresses. Descriptive, correlational, and multiple regression statistical approaches will be used to answer the research questions. Results may be used to provide a profile of sailors at risk for somatic and psychological health symptoms; to suggest areas for future interventions and studies to promote wellness in the shipboard environment; and for guidance in the formulation of services and policies to enhance health and productivity in the fleet.