Psychology's final frontier: Staying sane in space

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AstronautHealth.jpgAstrobiology Magazine posts an intriguing report today: The American Psychological Association is looking seriously at the question of astronauts’ mental health. It’s an issue that has sometimes been swept under the rug, says the APA’s press release:

Historically, astronauts have been reluctant to admit to mental or behavioral health problems for fear of being grounded.

But as missions get longer and astronauts are asked to do more, psychologists are looking at ways to help them cope with loneliness and interpersonal conflicts. At Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, psychologist James Carter (who also studies teamwork in space) and his group are building a tool to help astronauts deal with depression:

… a suite of interactive computer programs, dubbed the Virtual Space Station, using input from 13 veteran long-duration NASA astronauts who have flown on the International Space Station, Mir and Skylab. … This interactive program will help astronauts prevent, detect, assess and manage their own psychosocial problems. They will learn how to cope with depression and how to resolve conflicts with other astronauts.

Read more about Carter’s project >>

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