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Project Title:  Characterization of Psychological Risk, Overlap with Physical Health, and Associated Performance in Isolated, Confined, Extreme (ICE) Environments Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2020 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/13/2014  
End Date: 09/30/2021  
Task Last Updated: 04/24/2020 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Alfano, Candice  Ph.D. / University of Houston 
Address:  Psychology Department 
126 Heyne Bldg 
Houston , TX 77204-5022 
Email: caalfano@uh.edu 
Phone: 713-743-8611  
Congressional District: 18 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Houston 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Connaboy, Christopher  Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh 
Laughlin, Mitzi  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Simpson, Richard  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: April 2020: None
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX15AC13G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Williams, Thomas  
Center Contact: 281-483-8773 
thomas.j.williams-1@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-BMED Behavioral Health & Performance 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX15AC13G 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Sleep:Risk of Performance Decrements and Adverse Health Outcomes Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, and Work Overload (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) BMed06:We need to identify and validate effective treatments for adverse behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
(3) Sleep Gap 04:We need to identify indicators of individual vulnerabilities and resiliencies to sleep loss and circadian rhythm disruption, to aid with individualized countermeasure regimens, for autonomous, long duration and/or distance exploration missions (IRP Rev E)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 9/30/2021 per NSSC information (Ed., 4/22/2020)

NOTE: End date changed to 3/31/2020 per NSSC information (Ed., 1/29/2020)

NOTE: End date changed to 12/31/2019 per NSSC information (Ed., 7/17/19)

NOTE: End date changed to 5/31/2019 per NSSC information (Ed., 2/12/19)

NOTE: End date changed to 1/31/2019 per NSSC information (Ed., 12/28/18)

NOTE: End date changed to 11/12/2018 per NSSC information (Ed., 12/13/17)

NOTE: Element change to Human Factors & Behavioral Performance; previously Behavioral Health & Performance (Ed., 1/17/17)

Task Description: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions.

Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. The current project proposes to address these notable gaps in knowledge via three specific Aims. First, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 6 separate cohorts (i.e., 2 Antarctic and 4 Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with a physical symptoms checklist in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended International Space Station (ISS) mission.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions. Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. Thus, there is a need to: (1) identify the psychological/behavioral symptoms that pose the greatest threat to performance; (2) provide accurate and acceptable risk thresholds; (3) inform screening and selection processes; (4) guide further development of suitable working practices (standard operating procedures); and (5) develop interventions and counter measures to mitigate these risks.

This project specifically addresses several knowledge gaps related to Risks of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders including: Gap 1 (Need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions) and Gap 3 (Need to identify and validate measures to monitor behavioral health and performance and determine acceptable thresholds for these measures during exploration missions). Our primary goal is to identify the psychological and behavioral health symptoms with the greatest likelihood of occurrence during extended human space flight/habitation to space and to estimate associated levels of threat imposed to mission-based performance. As a final deliverable, a checklist of symptoms will be developed for implementation during an ISS mission (>6 months) in order to determine its feasibility, reliability, and facilitation of evidence-based decision making with regard to crew health, safety, and mission success.

As a first step, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 8 separate cohorts (i.e., 4 Antarctic and 4 HERA cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended ISS mission.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2020 
Task Progress: All major project objectives have been met. Main outcomes regarding our Mental Health Checklist (MHCL) measure in the Antarctic study, including participants who were stationed at the South Pole station or the McMurdo station, are currently under peer review. Secondary outcomes including sleep and cognitive testing are currently being prepared for submission. Main outcomes were presented at the Johnson Space Center in June 2019. During the approved no cost extension period we are seeking to further validate our MHCL measure in several additional populations including an additional Antarctic sample, elite athletes, and special forces soldiers.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/30/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Alfano CA. "Psychological Risk, Sleep Patterns and Physical Health in the Antarctic during Winterover." Presented at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, June 2019.

National Aeronatics and Space Administation (NASA) Johnson Space Center, 2019. , Jun-2019

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Alfano CA, Bower JL, McLaughlin M, Connaboy C, Simpson R. "Somatic Complaints and Biomarkers of Stress as Predictors of Mental Health in the Antarctic." Paper presented at the 2020 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 27-30, 2020.

Abstracts. 2020 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 27-30, 2020. , Jan-2020

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Alfano CA, Bower J, McLaughlin M, Connaboy C, Simpson RJ. "Prevalence, Severity and Course of Mental Health Symptoms during Antarctic Winterover." Paper presented at the 2019 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2019.

Abstracts. 2019 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2019. , Jan-2019

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Bower JL, Laughlin MS, Connaboy C, Simpson RJ, Alfano CA. "Factor structure and validation of the mental health checklist (MHCL) for use in isolated, confined and extreme environments." Acta Astronaut. 2019 Aug;161:405-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2019.03.007 , Aug-2019
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Connaboy C, Johnson CD, LaGoy AD, Pepping GJ, Simpson RJ, Deng Z, Ma L, Bower JL, Eagle SR, Flanagan SD, Alfano CA. "Intersession reliability and within-session stability of a novel perception-action coupling task." Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2019 Feb 1;90(2):77-83. https://doi.org/10.3357/AMHP.5190.2019 ; PubMed PMID: 30670116 , Feb-2019
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Johnson CD, LaGoy AD, Pepping GJ, Eagle SR, Beethe AZ, Bower JL, Alfano CA, Simpson RJ, Connaboy C. "Action boundary proximity effects on perceptual-motor judgments." Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2019 Dec 1;90(12):1000-8. https://doi.org/10.3357/AMHP.5376.2019 ; PubMed PMID: 31747996 , Dec-2019
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Connaboy C, LaGoy AD, Johnson CD, Sinnott AM, Eagle SR, Bower JL, Pepping G-J, Simpson RJ, Alfano CA. "Sleep deprivation impairs affordance perception behavior during an action boundary accuracy assessment." Acta Astronaut. 2020 Jan;166:270-6. Epub 2019 Oct 22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2019.10.029 , Jan-2020
Project Title:  Characterization of Psychological Risk, Overlap with Physical Health, and Associated Performance in Isolated, Confined, Extreme (ICE) Environments Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2019 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/13/2014  
End Date: 12/31/2019  
Task Last Updated: 10/15/2018 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Alfano, Candice  Ph.D. / University of Houston 
Address:  Psychology Department 
126 Heyne Bldg 
Houston , TX 77204-5022 
Email: caalfano@uh.edu 
Phone: 713-743-8611  
Congressional District: 18 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Houston 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Connaboy, Christopher  Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh 
Laughlin, Mitzi  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Simpson, Richard  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: October 2018 report: Zhigang Deng and Michael Zolensky are no longer CoInvestigators on the project.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX15AC13G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Williams, Thomas  
Center Contact: 281-483-8773 
thomas.j.williams-1@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-BMED Behavioral Health & Performance 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX15AC13G 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Sleep:Risk of Performance Decrements and Adverse Health Outcomes Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, and Work Overload (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) BMed06:We need to identify and validate effective treatments for adverse behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
(3) Sleep Gap 04:We need to identify indicators of individual vulnerabilities and resiliencies to sleep loss and circadian rhythm disruption, to aid with individualized countermeasure regimens, for autonomous, long duration and/or distance exploration missions (IRP Rev E)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 12/31/2019 per NSSC information (Ed., 7/17/19)

NOTE: End date changed to 5/31/2019 per NSSC information (Ed., 2/12/19)

NOTE: End date changed to 1/31/2019 per NSSC information (Ed., 12/28/18)

NOTE: End date changed to 11/12/2018 per NSSC information (Ed., 12/13/17)

NOTE: Element change to Human Factors & Behavioral Performance; previously Behavioral Health & Performance (Ed., 1/17/17)

Task Description: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions.

Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. The current project proposes to address these notable gaps in knowledge via three specific Aims. First, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 6 separate cohorts (i.e., 2 Antarctic and 4 Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with a physical symptoms checklist in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended International Space Station (ISS) mission.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions. Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. Thus, there is a need to: (1) identify the psychological/behavioral symptoms that pose the greatest threat to performance; (2) provide accurate and acceptable risk thresholds; (3) inform screening and selection processes; (4) guide further development of suitable working practices (standard operating procedures); and (5) develop interventions and counter measures to mitigate these risks.

This project specifically addresses several knowledge gaps related to Risks of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders including; Gaps 1 (Need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions) and Gap 3 (Need to identify and validate measures to monitor behavioral health and performance and determine acceptable thresholds for these measures during exploration missions). Our primary goal is to identify the psychological and behavioral health symptoms with the greatest likelihood of occurrence during extended human space flight/habitation to space and to estimate associated levels of threat imposed to mission-based performance. As a final deliverable, a checklist of symptoms will be developed for implementation during an ISS mission (>6 months) in order to determine its feasibility, reliability, and facilitation of evidence-based decision making with regard to crew health, safety, and mission success.

As a first step, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 8 separate cohorts (i.e., 4 Antarctic and 4 HERA cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended ISS mission.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2019 
Task Progress: During the past year, we completed data collection at two Antarctic stations including one coastal and one inland station (N=106). A total of N=106 participants completed the study, including n=19 at the inland station and n=87 at the coastal station. We subsequently received all data and equipment back from the Antarctic and are in the process of cleaning and analyzing all results. Primary outcomes will be presented at NASA's Human Research Program Investigators' Workshop in January 2019.

We also recently completed an initial validation study of our Mental Health Checklist (MHCL) including exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of the checklist in a community sample and examination of reliability and convergent validity in our Antarctic sample (N=106). This manuscript is currently under review for publication (Bower, Laughlin, Simpson & Alfano, 2018).

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/30/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Alfano CA, Bower J, Connaboy C, Simpson RJ. "Psychological Risk and Overlap with Physical Health in the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA)." Presented at the 2018 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2018.

2018 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2018. , Jan-2018

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Alfano CA, Bower J, Cowie J, Lau S, Simpson RJ. "Long-duration space exploration and emotional health: Recommendations for conceptualizing and evaluating risk." Acta Astronaut. 2018 Jan;142:289-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2017.11.009 , Jan-2018
Project Title:  Characterization of Psychological Risk, Overlap with Physical Health, and Associated Performance in Isolated, Confined, Extreme (ICE) Environments Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2018 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/13/2014  
End Date: 11/12/2018  
Task Last Updated: 09/11/2017 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Alfano, Candice  Ph.D. / University of Houston 
Address:  Psychology Department 
126 Heyne Bldg 
Houston , TX 77204-5022 
Email: caalfano@uh.edu 
Phone: 713-743-8611  
Congressional District: 18 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Houston 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Connaboy, Christopher  Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh 
Laughlin, Mitzi  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Simpson, Richard  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Deng, Zhigang  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Zolensky, Michael  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: None
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX15AC13G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Williams, Thomas  
Center Contact: 281-483-8773 
thomas.j.williams-1@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-BMED Behavioral Health & Performance 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX15AC13G 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Sleep:Risk of Performance Decrements and Adverse Health Outcomes Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, and Work Overload (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) BMed06:We need to identify and validate effective treatments for adverse behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
(3) Sleep Gap 04:We need to identify indicators of individual vulnerabilities and resiliencies to sleep loss and circadian rhythm disruption, to aid with individualized countermeasure regimens, for autonomous, long duration and/or distance exploration missions (IRP Rev E)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 11/12/2018 per NSSC information (Ed., 12/13/17)

NOTE: Element change to Human Factors & Behavioral Performance; previously Behavioral Health & Performance (Ed., 1/17/17)

Task Description: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions.

Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. The current project proposes to address these notable gaps in knowledge via three specific Aims. First, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 6 separate cohorts (i.e., 2 Antarctic and 4 Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with a physical symptoms checklist in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended International Space Station (ISS) mission.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions. Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. Thus, there is a need to: (1) identify the psychological/behavioral symptoms that pose the greatest threat to performance; (2) provide accurate and acceptable risk thresholds; (3) inform screening and selection processes; (4) guide further development of suitable working practices (standard operating procedures); and (5) develop interventions and counter measures to mitigate these risks.

This project specifically addresses several knowledge gaps related to Risks of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders including; Gaps 1 (Need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions) and Gap 3 (Need to identify and validate measures to monitor behavioral health and performance and determine acceptable thresholds for these measures during exploration missions). Our primary goal is to identify the psychological and behavioral health symptoms with the greatest likelihood of occurrence during extended human space flight/habitation to space and to estimate associated levels of threat imposed to mission-based performance. As a final deliverable, a checklist of symptoms will be developed for implementation during an ISS mission (>6 months) in order to determine its feasibility, reliability, and facilitation of evidence-based decision making with regard to crew health, safety, and mission success.

As a first step, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 8 separate cohorts (i.e., 4 Antarctic and 4 HERA cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended ISS mission.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2018 
Task Progress: All study objectives have been met during the past year of the project. Specifically:

1) We completed data collection from the 2016 HERA campaign (4 missions). We are cleaning and aggregating these data at present. Findings will be presented at the 2018 NASA Human Research Program (HRP) investigators’ workshop in January 2018 and subsequently submitted for publication. 2) Data collection in 2 Antarctic stations is ongoing with support from Dr. Jim McKeith and the Center for Polar Medical Operations. At South Pole, a total of 21 participants have been recruited, and at McMurdo, 88 participants have been recruited. Data collection will be completed in November 2017, after which data will be cleaned and analyzed prior to publication in peer-reviewed journals.

3) Our comprehensive technical report titled, “Long-Duration Space Exploration and Emotional Health: Recommendations for Conceptualizing and Evaluating Risk” received feedback from HRP staff. The overarching goals of this report were to provide an integrative summary of emotion-based outcomes from previous studies in isolated, confined, extreme (ICE) environments and to provide specific recommendations for future research. These findings have also been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and are currently undergoing revisions prior to publication.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/30/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2018
Project Title:  Characterization of Psychological Risk, Overlap with Physical Health, and Associated Performance in Isolated, Confined, Extreme (ICE) Environments Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2017 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/13/2014  
End Date: 11/12/2017  
Task Last Updated: 08/26/2016 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Alfano, Candice  Ph.D. / University of Houston 
Address:  Psychology Department 
126 Heyne Bldg 
Houston , TX 77204-5022 
Email: caalfano@uh.edu 
Phone: 713-743-8611  
Congressional District: 18 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Houston 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Connaboy, Christopher  University of Pittsburgh 
Laughlin, Mitzi  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Simpson, Richard  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Deng, Zhigang  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Zolensky, Michael  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: None
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX15AC13G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Williams, Thomas  
Center Contact: 281-483-8773 
thomas.j.williams-1@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-BMED Behavioral Health & Performance 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX15AC13G 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Sleep:Risk of Performance Decrements and Adverse Health Outcomes Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, and Work Overload (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) BMed06:We need to identify and validate effective treatments for adverse behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
(3) Sleep Gap 04:We need to identify indicators of individual vulnerabilities and resiliencies to sleep loss and circadian rhythm disruption, to aid with individualized countermeasure regimens, for autonomous, long duration and/or distance exploration missions (IRP Rev E)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: Element change to Human Factors & Behavioral Performance; previously Behavioral Health & Performance (Ed., 1/17/17)

Task Description: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions.

Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. The current project proposes to address these notable gaps in knowledge via three specific Aims. First, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 6 separate cohorts (i.e., 2 Antarctic and 4 Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with a physical symptoms checklist in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended International Space Station (ISS) mission.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions. Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. Thus, there is a need to: (1) identify the psychological/behavioral symptoms that pose the greatest threat to performance; (2) provide accurate and acceptable risk thresholds; (3) inform screening and selection processes; (4) guide further development of suitable working practices (standard operating procedures); and (5) develop interventions and counter measures to mitigate these risks.

This project specifically addresses several knowledge gaps related to Risks of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders including; Gaps 1 (Need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions) and Gap 3 (Need to identify and validate measures to monitor behavioral health and performance and determine acceptable thresholds for these measures during exploration missions). Our primary goal is to identify the psychological and behavioral health symptoms with the greatest likelihood of occurrence during extended human space flight/habitation to space and to estimate associated levels of threat imposed to mission-based performance. As a final deliverable, a checklist of symptoms will be developed for implementation during an ISS mission (>6 months) in order to determine its feasibility, reliability, and facilitation of evidence-based decision making with regard to crew health, safety, and mission success.

As a first step, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 8 separate cohorts (i.e., 4 Antarctic and 4 HERA cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended ISS mission.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2017 
Task Progress: During year 2 of the project all objectives have been met. Specifically, we completed and submitted to NASA a comprehensive technical report titled, “Long-Duration Space Exploration and Emotional Health: Recommendations for Conceptualizing and Evaluating Risk.” The overarching goals of this report were to provide an integrative summary of emotion-based outcomes from previous studies in isolated, confined, extreme (ICE) environments and to provide specific recommendations for future research. We are currently awaiting feedback from Behavioral Health & Performance (BHP) element scientific staff regarding our report. During the next year of the project we will seek to publish our findings in a peer-reviewed journal.

At the time of this report, we have completed data collection in 3 of 4 HERA cohorts during the 2016 campaign. Few problems have been encountered and very few missing data have occurred. We are currently preparing for the 4th and final 2016 HERA mission and have begun cleaning data for analysis.

After receiving approval from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to implement our protocol in two Antarctic stations during the 2017 winterover season, we are currently working Neal Scheibe and the Antarctic Support Team at Lockheed Martin (contracted by NSF) to finalize logistics and implement our project in two Antarctic cohorts. We are in the process of purchasing and organizing all materials for the study which will be shipped to the two Antarctic stations in October 2016. We are also working with Dr. Jim McKeith, the Antarctic Support Contractor at Universit of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), who will lead the research support team that will oversee our project on the ice.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/30/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Alfano CA, Simpson R, Connaboy C, Laughlin M, Zvolensky M, Deng Z. "Characterization of Psychological Risk, Overlap with Physical Health, and Associated Performance in Isolated, Confined, Extreme (ICE) Environments." Research poster at 2016 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston TX, Feb 8-11, 2016.

2016 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston TX, Feb 8-11, 2016. , Feb-2016

NASA Technical Documents Alfano CA, Bower J, Cowie J, Lau S, Simpson R. "Long-Duration Space Exploration and Emotional Health: Recommendations for Conceptualizing and Evaluating Emotional Risk." Technical Report submitted to NASA-Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, May 2016. , May-2016
Project Title:  Characterization of Psychological Risk, Overlap with Physical Health, and Associated Performance in Isolated, Confined, Extreme (ICE) Environments Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2016 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/13/2014  
End Date: 11/12/2017  
Task Last Updated: 09/01/2015 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Alfano, Candice  Ph.D. / University of Houston 
Address:  Psychology Department 
126 Heyne Bldg 
Houston , TX 77204-5022 
Email: caalfano@uh.edu 
Phone: 713-743-8611  
Congressional District: 18 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Houston 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Connaboy, Christopher  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Laughlin, Mitzi  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Simpson, Richard  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Deng, Zhigang  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Zolensky, Michael  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: None
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX15AC13G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Leveton, Lauren  
Center Contact:  
lauren.b.leveton@nasa5.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-BMED Behavioral Health & Performance 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX15AC13G 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Sleep:Risk of Performance Decrements and Adverse Health Outcomes Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, and Work Overload (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) BMed06:We need to identify and validate effective treatments for adverse behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
(3) Sleep Gap 04:We need to identify indicators of individual vulnerabilities and resiliencies to sleep loss and circadian rhythm disruption, to aid with individualized countermeasure regimens, for autonomous, long duration and/or distance exploration missions (IRP Rev E)
Task Description: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions.

Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. The current project proposes to address these notable gaps in knowledge via three specific Aims. First, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 8 separate cohorts (i.e., 4 Antarctic and 4 Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended International Space Station (ISS) mission.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions. Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. Thus, there is a need to: (1) identify the psychological/behavioral symptoms that pose the greatest threat to performance; (2) provide accurate and acceptable risk thresholds; (3) inform screening and selection processes; (4) guide further development of suitable working practices (standard operating procedures); and (5) develop interventions and counter measures to mitigate these risks.

This project specifically addresses several knowledge gaps related to Risks of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders including; Gaps 1 (Need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions) and Gap 3 (Need to identify and validate measures to monitor behavioral health and performance and determine acceptable thresholds for these measures during exploration missions). Our primary goal is to identify the psychological and behavioral health symptoms with the greatest likelihood of occurrence during extended human space flight/habitation to space and to estimate associated levels of threat imposed to mission-based performance. As a final deliverable, a checklist of symptoms will be developed for implementation during an ISS mission (>6 months) in order to determine its feasibility, reliability, and facilitation of evidence-based decision making with regard to crew health, safety, and mission success.

As a first step, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 8 separate cohorts (i.e., 4 Antarctic and 4 HERA cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended ISS mission.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2016 
Task Progress: Project objectives for Year 1 include: 1) obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the protocol from the University of Houston (UH) and NASA; 2) hiring a project coordinator; 3) conducting a comprehensive literature review of the effects of ICE environments on psychological/behavioral heath; 4) completing a review paper summarizing findings from the literature review; 5) conducting SME interviews; 6) obtaining all self-report measures and licenses; and 7) modifying perception-action coupling software for the HERA environment. Each of these goals has been met or is underway as described below.

IRB approval from UH was obtained in February 2015 and from NASA in May 2015. A project coordinator was hired for the project and will begin work at UH in October 2015. The literature review is well underway and a final review paper is expected to be submitted to NASA in December 2015. The PI has completed 9 out of 10 total SME interviews, including interviews with: a NASA psychologist, a NASA psychiatrist, two NASA flight surgeons, a NASA astronaut, a psychologist involved in selection for work ICE environments, a crewmember of the 520-day Mars500 study, a scientist from NASA’s Explorations Medical Capability Unit, and a medical doctor with Antarctic winterover experience. The perception action coupling software and equipment are currently being modified to suit the HERA environment. We have also submitted the Science Requirements Document for our protocol to NASA Flight Analogue Projects (FAP) for the 2016 HERA campaign and have begun to assemble the final version of our Neurobehavioral Checklist for use in all HERA cohorts.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/30/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2016
Project Title:  Characterization of Psychological Risk, Overlap with Physical Health, and Associated Performance in Isolated, Confined, Extreme (ICE) Environments Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2015 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/13/2014  
End Date: 11/12/2017  
Task Last Updated: 03/30/2015 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Alfano, Candice  Ph.D. / University of Houston 
Address:  Psychology Department 
126 Heyne Bldg 
Houston , TX 77204-5022 
Email: caalfano@uh.edu 
Phone: 713-743-8611  
Congressional District: 18 
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Houston 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Connaboy, Christopher  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Laughlin, Mitzi  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Simpson, Richard  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Deng, Zhigang  Ph.D. University of Houston 
Zolensky, Michael  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX15AC13G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Leveton, Lauren  
Center Contact:  
lauren.b.leveton@nasa5.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-BMED Behavioral Health & Performance 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX15AC13G 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Sleep:Risk of Performance Decrements and Adverse Health Outcomes Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, and Work Overload (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) BMed06:We need to identify and validate effective treatments for adverse behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
(3) Sleep Gap 04:We need to identify indicators of individual vulnerabilities and resiliencies to sleep loss and circadian rhythm disruption, to aid with individualized countermeasure regimens, for autonomous, long duration and/or distance exploration missions (IRP Rev E)
Task Description: Anecdotal and empirical findings collected in space and other extreme environments continue to highlight the potential for psychological symptoms and conditions to degrade crew performance, increase conflict, and jeopardize mission success. Indeed, ‘negative reactions’ during periods of isolation, confinement, demanding work schedules, stimulus reduction, separation from loved ones, sleep deprivation, and a host of other stressors are more appropriately viewed as normative rather than pathogenic. Selection methods and countermeasures serve to mitigate some degree of psychological risk, but long-duration space flight will substantially extend exposure to these and other stressors. Previous research documenting psychological symptoms experienced during space flight and in other isolated and confined environments (ICE) provides evidence of a wide range of psychological and behavioral reactions. Unfortunately however, these collective data ultimately serve to raise more questions than answers. Differences in collection methods, types of symptoms/reactions assessed, psychological constructs examined, and timing and duration of measurements limit conclusions that can be drawn from this research. As a result, understanding of the discrete symptoms and conditions most likely to occur during space flight and thus, ability to quantify the magnitude, probability, or consequences of such risk remains inadequate. The current project proposes to address these notable gaps in knowledge via three specific Aims. First, we will conduct extensive scientific literature reviews and interviews with subject matter experts in order to synthesize existing knowledge of the psychological and behavioral symptoms experienced in space and other extreme environments (Aim 1). Our review will directly inform the development of a comprehensive checklist of symptoms to be monitored among 8 separate cohorts (i.e., 4 Antarctic and 4 HERA cohorts) as part of a longitudinal investigation (Aim 2). Symptoms will be examined based on their point/period prevalence, severity, and duration. The checklist will also be administered (repeatedly) in conjunction with the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) in order to examine concurrent and sequential overlap between psychological and physical health symptoms as means of clarifying potential etiologies. Finally, our study will extend previous research by exploring relationships among psychological health, sleep loss/dysregulation, biomarkers of stress, and performance-based outcomes (Aim 3). A comprehensive battery of cognitive and performance measures (including a perception-action coupling task) will be administered repeatedly as part of our longitudinal study. These outcomes will inform a final list of psychological/ behavioral symptoms to be examined during an extended International Space Station (ISS) mission.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: 0

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2015 
Task Progress: New project for FY2015.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/30/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2015