Decamps, G. and Rosnet, E., Laboratory of Applied Psychology, France
Number of studies have addressed the question of psychological adjustment in Antarctica. This study of psychological adaptation in polar environments is part of an international research project coordinated by the Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research (SCAR) since 1998. The short-term effects of exposure to these environmental conditions have been well documented, but few paid special attention to the diachronic aspects of this adaptation. The object of this research paper is to examine the evolution of the manifestations of adaptation which appear during wintering-over. The medical doctor of the mission had to observe every week the manifestations presented by each winterer. The manifestations are divided into four categories: Emotional, Relational, Physical, and Occupational manifestations. The winter-over is divided in five 10-weeks periods. The results show that there are no important changes concerning the total number of manifestations between the different periods. However, each of the four categories of manifestations does not have the same importance at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the stay; Emotional, Relational, Physical, and Occupational manifestations have their own diachrony. The findings also suggest that the four categories complement each other. The results are discussed in terms of individual and group adaptation, and in terms of inter-individual differences.