FORMALIZED METHODOLOGY FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL SELECTION AND SUPPORT IN A LONG- TERM BED-REST EXPERIMENT
 
Rosnet, E., Deswaene, B. and Pr Le Scanff, C., University of Reims, France
 
Understanding biological and psychological adaptation during space flights is a major issue for future long-term space missions. Bed-rest experiments are planned to determine the physiological effects of weightlessness. A three-months experiment has been organized for 14 subjects in Toulouse (France) by the spatial clinic MEDES with the support of the European, French, and Japan Space Agencies in 2001. Living such an experiment is a stressful situation because volunteers are not allowed to stand or to sit during 3 months. From a psychological point of view, they have to face dependence from others, loss of usual social behavior, and deterioration of body's representation. As volunteers are non pathological people, a specific methodology has been defined to deal with the psychological aspects of this long-term bed-rest. This methodology is inspired from results obtained in other extreme environments like polar wintering and spatial simulations. Special care has been given to selection: cognitive, behavioral, social and clinical methods have been used to detect the subjects who could fit the situation at best. Psychological support has been organized around individual interviews. Corporal techniques were also included during training and support. The 14 chosen volunteers completed the whole experiment. Complementary psychological examinations will be made during one year to detect long-term possible psychological problems. Results could lead to enhance selection criteria for isolation and confinement situations and help to the organization of psychological support. They also indicate how volunteers psychologically face such a situation.