Sailing Can Improve Quality of Life of People with Severe Mental Disorders: Results of a Cross Over Randomized Controlled Trial

Mauro Giovanni Carta 1, *, Federica Maggiani 1, Laura Pilutzu 1, Maria Francesca Moro 1, Gioia Mura 1, Federica Sancassiani 1, Vellante Vellante 1, Gian Mario Migliaccio 1, Sergio Machado 2, Antonio Egidio Nardi 2, Antonio Preti 1
1 Centro di Psichiatria di Consulenza e Psicosomatica AUOC Cagliari and University of Cagliari, #CONI, Italian Olympic Committee – Sardinia
2 Institute of Psychiatry of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPUB/UFRJ)

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© Carta et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Centro di Psichiatria di Consulenza e Psicosomatica AUOC Cagliari and University of Cagliari, Italy; Tel: +39 35 499994; Fax: +070 6093498; E-mail:


The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a sailing rehabilitation program on the quality of life (QoL) in a sample of patients with severe mental disorders. The study adopted a randomized, crossover, waiting-list controlled design. The participants enrolled in the study were outpatients diagnosed with severe chronic mental disorders. The participants (N=40) exposed to rehabilitation with sailing took part in a series of supervised cruises near the gulf of Cagliari, South Sardinia, and showed a statistically significant improvement of their quality of life compared to the control group. This improvement was comparable to the improvement in psychopathologic status and social functioning as shown in a previous report of the same research project. The improvement was maintained at follow-up only during the trial and for a few months later: after 12 months, patients returned to their baseline values and their quality of life showed a worsening trend. This is the first study to show that rehabilitation with sailing may improve the quality of life of people with severe chronic mental disorders. In all likelihood, a program grounded on learning how to manage a sailing vessel - during which patients perform cruises that emphasize the exploration of the marine environment by sailing - might be interesting enough and capture the attention of the patients so as to favour greater effectiveness of standard rehabilitation protocols, but this should be specifically tested.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder, quality of life, rehabilitation, sailing, Schizophrenia. .