“VelaMente?!” - Sailin in a Crew to Improve Self-Efficacy in People with Psychosocial Disabilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Federica Sancassiani1, 2, *, Alessio Cocco1, 2, Giulia Cossu1, 2, Stefano Lorrai1, 2, Giuseppina Trincas1, 2, Francesca Floris1, 2, Gisa Mellino1, 2, Sergio Machado3, 4, Antonio Egidio Nardi3, Elisabetta Pascolo Fabrici5, Antonello Preti1, 2, Mauro Giovanni Carta1, 2
1 Department of Medical Science and Public Health, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
2 Center of Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatic, University Hospital, Cagliari, Italy
3 Laboratory of Panic and Respiration, Institute of Psychiatry of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPUB/UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, (RJ), Brazil
4 Physical Activity Neuroscience, Physical Activity Sciences Postgraduate Program - Salgado de Oliveira University, Niterói, Brazil
5 Techniques for the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Degree Course, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy

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© 2017 Sancassiani et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medical Science and Public Health, University of Cagliari, SS554, 09042 Monserrato (Cagliari), Italy; Tel: +39 349 3119215; E-mail:



It has been proposed that sailing can improve quality of life, personal and social skills of people with severe psychosocial disabilities. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of a psychosocial rehabilitative intervention focused on sailing on quality of life, self-efficacy and sense of coherence in people with severe psychosocial disabilities.


The study was a randomized, with parallel groups, waiting-list controlled trial. Participants were 51 people with severe psychosocial disabilities. The intervention was a structured course to learn sailing in a crew lasting three months. A randomized group began the sailing course immediately after a pre-treatment assessment; the waitlist group began the sailing course after a three months period of treatments as usual. Participants were assessed before and after the sailing course, or the waiting list period, on the General Self-Efficacy scale (GSES), Sense Of Coherence scale (SOC) and Health Survey-short form (SF-12).


Self-efficacy significantly increased after the sailing course and decreased after treatment as usual (p=0.015). Sense of coherence and the levels of quality of life tended to improve after the sailing course, albeit below levels of statistical significance.


When compared to more traditional psychosocial rehabilitative activities, an intervention focused on sailing in a crew positively impacts the sense of coherence and the levels of quality of life and significantly improves self-efficacy of people with severe psychosocial disabilities. Further longitudinal research is required.

Keywords: Sailing, Sport, Psychosocial rehabilitation, Quality of life, Self-efficacy, Sense of coherence.