As part of our 1,800km expedition across Antarctica, we worked with renowned psychologist Dr Nathan Smith to understand a little more about coping strategies and mental health in this extreme environment.
Expedition teams operating in Polar environments are exposed to a range of environmental, psychological and social challenges. How a person responds to these demands has implications for their physical and psychological health. In the present study, we examined relations between the daily events encountered, coping strategies used and markers of physical and psychological health in a team of six British Army soldiers (one serving and five reservists) completing a 68-day ski-traverse of the Antarctic continent. In general, daily reports indicated a largely adaptive response to the expedition. There were fluctuations in the events encountered, coping strategies used, and experiences of physical and psychological health throughout the endeavor. Reported daily events and coping strategies explained variability in the positive and negative fluctuations of physical and psychological health. Findings from this study can inform health decision-making of groups operating in Polar environments, and others living and working under similar constraints.
Read online here.