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Gravit Space Biol Bull. 2001 Jun;14(2):25-33.

Psychosocial issues in long-term space flight: overview.

Author information

1
Department of Family and Preventative Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla CA, USA. lpalinkas@ucsd.edu
2
U CA San Diego, La Jolla

Abstract

Anecdotal evidence of the individual and interpersonal problems that occurred during the Shuttle-Mir Space Program (SMSP) and other long-duration Russian/Soviet missions, and studies of personnel in other isolated and confined extreme (ICE) environments suggest that psychosocial elements of behavior and performance are likely to have a significant impact on the outcome of long-duration missions in space. This impact may range from individual decrements in performance, health and well being, to catastrophic mission failure. This paper reviews our current understanding of the psychosocial issues related to long duration space missions according to three different domains of behavior: the individual domain, the interpersonal domain and the organizational domain. Individual issues include: personality characteristics that predict successful performance, stress due to isolation and confinement and its effect on emotions and cognitive performance, adaptive and maladaptive coping styles and strategies, and requirements for the psychological support of astronauts and their families during the mission. Interpersonal issues include: impact of crew diversity and leadership styles on small group dynamics, adaptive and maladaptive features of ground-crew interactions, and processes of crew cohesion, tension and conflict. Organizational issues include: the influence of organizational culture and mission duration on individual and group performance, and managerial requirements for long duration missions. Improved screening and selection of astronaut candidates, leadership, coping and interpersonal skills training of personnel, and organizational change are key elements in the prevention of performance decrements on long-duration missions.

PMID:
11865866
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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