Quantifying the Physiological Stress Response to Simulated Maritime Pilotage Tasks: The Influence of Task Complexity and Pilot Experience

Luana C. Main, Alexander Wolkow, Timothy P. Chambers

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of this study was to quantify the stress associated with performing maritime pilotage tasks in a high-fidelity simulator. Methods: Eight trainee and 13 maritime pilots completed two simulated pilotage tasks of varying complexity. Salivary cortisol samples were collected pre- and post-simulation for both trials. Heart rate was measured continuously throughout the study. Results: Significant changes in salivary cortisol (P=0.000, η 2 =0.139), average (P=0.006, η 2 =0.087), and peak heart rate (P=0.013, η 2 =0.077) from pre- to postsimulation were found. Varying task complexity did partially influence stress response; average (P=0.016, η 2 =0.026) and peak heart rate (P=0.034, η 2 =0.020) were higher in the experimental condition. Trainees also recorded higher average (P=0.000, η 2 =0.054) and peak heart rates (P=0.027, η 2 =0.022). Conclusion: Performing simulated pilotage tasks evoked a measurable stress response in both trainee and expert maritime pilots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1083
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

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