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Baert P.,BCRM Cherbourg | Trousselard M.,Institute Of Recherche Biomedicale Des Armees Antenne Of La Tronche | Clervoy P.,Hopital dInstruction des Armees HIA Sainte Anne
Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine

Introduction: Although submarine accidents occur rarely, they sometimes result in many casualties. Although there are numerous reports on behavioral health consequences following surface vessel accidents, few studies have focused on these issues in the unique context of submarines. This paper reviews the history of significant acknowledged submarine accidents and reports the results of a behavioral health assessment following one recent accident. Methods: In 2007, a French nuclear-powered submarine (SNA Rubis) suffered a collision during a diving exercise off Toulon, France. All of the crew were individually assessed by a psychiatric team following the event for defusing. A follow-up assessment by auto-questionnaire was only conducted 8 mo after the accident using an anonymous subjective survey tool, the French version of the post-traumatic checklist scale (PCLS). Results: Of the 50 male crew, 48 (average age 28.8 ± 4.3 yr) completed the questionnaire. Most of the crew (95.8%) had talked about the accident with close relations or work colleagues, but only three discussed it with a doctor. Median PCLS score was 19 (range 17-45); 83.3% of the crew had scores ≤ 29; one subject met the criteria for PTSD. Discussion: Whether or not PTSD is an occupational hazard in submariners, this report highlights the difficulties in conducting behavioral health follow-up after serious accidents. © by the Aerospace Medical Association, Alexandria, VA. Source

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