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Personality Influences on a Two-Man Arctic Expedition, Impact on Spouse, and the Return Home

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Leon GR, Scheib A. Personality influences on a two-man Arctic expedition, impact on spouse, and the return home. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:526–529.

Introduction: Two men engaged in a kayak/sled Arctic expedition and their wives were evaluated. This report focuses on personality factors and decisions on the ice, psychosocial effects on those left behind, and the family re-integration process. Method: Pre-expedition measures included the Multidimensional Personality Inventory (MPQ) and the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships (PAIR). Semi-structured interviews were conducted post-expedition and at a 4-mo follow-up. The PAIR was re-administered at the 4-mo follow-up. Results: Significant tension and lack of communication between the two expeditioners was reported in response to the leader’s decision to terminate the expedition because of weather conditions and poor progress. The incompatibility of the personality traits and goals of the two expeditioners contributed to this tension. The wives provided positive social support to each other, although the support and concern of their community became stressful. For each couple, both positive and negative changes in partner relationship intimacy were evident at the 4-mo follow-up. There was little consistency between each spouse on the types of changes that occurred. Discussion: Greater attention to and planning for the re-integration process is suggested, with application for the return from other types of challenging endeavors.
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Keywords: decision processes; family re-integration; personality; polar expedition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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