Quantitative analysis of mental wellbeing of fly-in fly-out construction project support service workers
School of Medical and Health Sciences
This study investigated the prevalence of psychological distress among fly-in fly-out (FIFO) support service workers at a remote construction project in Western Australia. A cohort of 113 employees volunteered from a population of 306 workers. Eight questionnaires were incomplete leaving 105 useable surveys for analysis (34.3% response rate). All participants completed the Kessler 10 Psychological Distress Scale (K10) including questions relating to a range of lifestyle factors. Data was compared against general population scores and the correlations for each of the K10 factors were calculated. Participants reported more instances of high or very high K10 scores (25.7%) compared to the general population (8.2%). The least popular coping methods during difficult times were “contact a medical professional” (1.9%) and “contact a mental health support group” (1.0%). More than half the participants (52.4%) reported being subjected to workplace bullying and harassment. Feeling socially isolated while on-site was strongly correlated with high K10 scores (r2= 0.61). FIFO workers in the support services are at risk of suffering mental health problems at work. Workers are reluctant to seek help regarding their mental health due to a fear of stigmatisation. Employers need to develop strategies and training aimed at building resilience, breaking down stigma and eliminating bullying among FIFO workers.