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Autonomous, Computer-Based Behavioral Health Countermeasure Evaluation at HI-SEAS Mars Analog

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INTRODUCTION: Living in an isolated, confined environment (ICE) can induce conflict, stress, and depression. Computer-based behavioral health countermeasures are appealing for training and treatment in ICEs because they provide confidentiality and do not require communication with the outside environment. We evaluated the Virtual Space Station (VSS), a suite of interactive computer-delivered psychological training and treatment programs, at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) III expedition.

METHODS: Six subjects (3 male, 3 female) spent 8 mo in group-isolation and used the Conflict, Stress, and Depression modules in the VSS. Survey evaluations, data collected within the program, and postdeployment interviews were collected.

RESULTS: This crew dealt with behavioral health issues common to ICEs. The VSS proved to be a valuable resource and was used both as intended, and in unanticipated ways, to help maintain behavioral health. The Conflict and Stress Modules were rated as highly acceptable (1.8 on a 7-point Likert scale). The crew identified a total of 13 stressors and worked on 9 problems through the VSS. Opinions about the modules were highly individualized. Crewmembers identified exercises in the VSS that were applicable and not applicable to their needs. Additional content to improve the program was identified.

DISCUSSION: Autonomous, confidential training and treatment for behavioral health issues will need to be a critical component of long duration spaceflight travel. This work provides an evaluation of such a tool in a relevant ICE.

Anderson AP, Fellows AM, Binsted KA, Hegel MT, Buckey JC. Autonomous, computer-based behavioral health countermeasure evaluation at HI-SEAS Mars analog. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(11):912–920.
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Keywords: Isolated confined environment; conflict; depression; spaceflight analog; stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH, and the University of Hawaii, M?noa, Honolulu, HI, USA

Publication date: 2016-11-01

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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