The psychological process of reintegration following a nine month/260 day solo sailboat circumnavigation of the globe

Scand J Psychol. 2015 Apr;56(2):198-202. doi: 10.1111/sjop.12192. Epub 2015 Jan 20.


The focus of this case report is on the psychological reintegration process following the achievement of a highly challenging long-duration and solitary endeavor. The participant was a 29 year old male who successfully circumnavigated the globe during a 260 day solo sailing expedition. We assessed the psychological aftermath in terms of stability and change in personality characteristics and personal beliefs prior to, and at 180 and 360 days after the completion of the journey. Overall, the personality configuration reflected adaptive personality functioning. A belief in an internal locus of control was consistent throughout, as were perceptions of personal growth as a result of the circumnavigation experience. NEO PI-R Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, and Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (Tri-PM) Boldness scores remained stable. Positive personality change was reflected by an elevation in Conscientiousness; negative change by a decline in Agreeableness and an increase in Tri-PM Disinhibition. While overall the participant exhibited positive change as a result of his journey, there were also some negative aspects of the reintegration phase in regard to interactions with other persons. This latter change may be related to the effects of isolation from usual social contacts over an extended period.

Keywords: Psychological reintegration; extreme environment; personality stability; solo circumnavigation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Personality*
  • Ships
  • Social Isolation / psychology*
  • Social Participation / psychology*