Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 313-319

Psychological adaptation of Indian expeditioners during prolonged residence in Antarctica

1 Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of ENT, NEIGRIHMS, Mawdiangdiang, Shillong, Meghalaya, India

Correspondence Address:
Sudhir K Khandelwal
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_296_16

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Background: In view of the growing human activities in Antarctica and increasing exposure of humans to prolonged isolation under extreme conditions, such as space travel and deep sea diving, it is necessary to study the psychological adaptation to such an environment. The current study aimed to assess the psychological adaptation of Indian expeditioners to prolonged residence in Antarctica. Materials and Methods: Twenty-four winter team members of 27th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica were administered seven instruments 5 times during the expedition. The instruments measured cognition and memory, general psychological health and tobacco, and alcohol consumption. Results: Alcohol consumption was maximum during the initial days of arrival on the continent and decreased thereafter, with another spike during the peak of the winter season. Externalized psychological reactions peaked during the midwinter period. Anxiety and insomnia peaked during the coldest period whereas depressive symptoms did not change throughout the expedition. Cognition was at its worst during the final phase of Antarctic residence. No significant change was noted in the third quarter of wintering. Conclusion: Each phase of Antarctic residence could be equated with a particular stage in psychological adaptation. There was no third quarter phenomenon.



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