The use of Spielberger’s State-Trait Personality Inventory (trait anxiety subscale) with naval subaquatic specialists
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Private practice, Simon’s Town, South Africa
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2014;27(6):959-66
Objectives: Panic behavior poses a particular threat to the health and safety of subaquatic occupational specialists. Trait anxiety has previously been identified as a marker of panic behavior under water, and Spielberger’s State-Trait Personality Inventory (trait anxiety subscale) has been previously used to measure trait anxiety among subaquatic specialists. Using archived data, the trait anxiety scores of subaquatic specialists were analyzed to meet 3 objectives: 1stly – to develop a trait anxiety profile of subaquatic specialists; 2ndly – to investigate the predictive value of trait anxiety measures upon entering an occupational field; and 3rdly – to establish the reliability of these scores over time. Material and Methods: Archival trait-anxiety data from 322 subjects were analyzed statistically. Results: Analysis of the available scores revealed a highly homogenous as well as a very low trait anxiety profile for the investigated occupational group. Additionally, low trait anxiety was somewhat associated with success during specialist training: fewer candidates with high trait anxiety scores completed their qualification. Moreover, measurement of trait anxiety was stable over time, which suggests that when scores for this occupational group are screened, deviations from previous scores could signify a potential need for referral to an intervention from health professionals. Conclusions: Using the trait anxiety subscale as part of occupational health surveillance of subaquatic specialists could support prevention of accidents by identifying high-risk candidates during their annual health assessments, and referral for timeous intervention.
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