Using Raman spectroscopy we have analysed the strain status of GaN films grown on sapphire substrates by NH3 source molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). In addition to the expected compressive biaxial strain, in some cases GaN films grown on c-face sapphire substrates suffer from serious tensile biaxial strain. This anomalous behaviour has been well interpreted in terms of interstitial hydrogen-dependent lattice dilation. The hydrogen concentration in the films is measured by nuclear reaction analysis (NRA). With increasing hydrogen incorporation, the residual compressive biaxial strain is first further relaxed, and then turns into tensile strain when the hydrogen contaminant exceeds a critical concentration. The hydrogen incorporation during the growth process is found to be growth-rate dependent, and is supposed to be strain driven. We believe that the strain-induced interstitial incorporation is another way for strain relaxation during heteroepitaxy, besides the two currently well known mechanisms: formation of dislocations and growth front roughening.