Well-being at the Polish Polar Station, Svalbard: Adaptation to extreme environments

Anna Temp, Billy Lee, Thomas Bak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

While the psychological well-being of Antarctic crews has been investigated previously, Arctic crews have received little attention. Antarctic stressors include the permanent darkness of polar night, cramped quarters and harsh weather conditions which demand that the crews work together to survive. These stressors are also present for Arctic crews with the addition of dangerous polar bears. In this study, these psychological stressors were explored at the Polish Polar Station, Svalbard. Nine crew members three of whom were women, took part in the study. They filled in the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90-R) after their arrival, at equinox, during polar night, in spring and during the midnight sun. Depression and hostility were highest in the spring following the isolation of polar night. Vigor reached its lowest point in spring and remained low until mission completion. Confusion continued to decline throughout the mission. The Polish crew adapted by monitoring their feelings to work together and ensure survival. Up until and during the polar night, negative feelings were low. Following the isolation period, depression and hostility increased while vigor declined. This suggests adaptation paradigm wherein the participants stopped to monitor their own feelings as closely after the polar night.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Interconnected Arctic
Subtitle of host publicationUArctic Congress 2016
EditorsKirsi Latola, Hannele Savela
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-57532-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-57531-5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameSpringer Polar Sciences
ISSN (Print)2510-0475

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Arctic
  • well-being
  • psychology


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