Psychosocial issues in space: results from Shuttle/Mir.

Abstract

Important psychosocial issues involving tension, cohesion, leader support, and displacement of negative emotions were evaluated in a 4 1/2-year study involving five U.S. and four Russian Shuttle/Mir space missions. Weekly mood and group climate questionnaires were completed by five U.S. astronauts, eight Russian cosmonauts, and 42 U.S. and 16 Russian mission control subjects. There were few findings that supported our hypothesized changes in tension, cohesion, and leader support in crew and ground subjects using various time models, although crewmembers reported decreasing leader support in the 2nd half of the missions, and astronauts showed some evidence of a novelty effect in the first few weeks. There was no evidence suggesting a 3rd quarter effect among crewmembers on any of the 21 subscales evaluated. In contrast, there was strong evidence to support the hypothesized displacement of tension and negative emotions from crewmembers to mission control personnel and from mission control personnel to management. There were several significant differences in response between Americans vs. Russians, crewmembers vs. mission control personnel, and subjects in this study vs. people in comparable groups on Earth. Subject responses before, during, and after the missions were similar, and we did not find evidence for asthenia in space. Critical incidents that were reported generally dealt with events on-board the Mir and interpersonal conflicts, although most of the responses were from a relatively small number of subjects. Our findings have implications for future training and lead to a number of countermeasures.

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@article{Kanas2001PsychosocialII, title={Psychosocial issues in space: results from Shuttle/Mir.}, author={Nick A Kanas and Vyacheslav P Salnitskiy and Ellen M Grund and Daniel S. Weiss and Vadim I Gushin and A Bostrom and Olga P Kozerenko and Alexander Sled and Charles Marmar}, journal={Gravitational and space biology bulletin : publication of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology}, year={2001}, volume={14 2}, pages={35-45} }