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. 2005 Jun;76(6 Suppl):B67-73.

Whole Lot of Parts: Stress in Extreme Environments

  • PMID: 15943197

Whole Lot of Parts: Stress in Extreme Environments

G Daniel Steel. Aviat Space Environ Med. .


Stress has been a central interest for researchers of human behavior in extreme and unusual environments and also for those who are responsible for planning and carrying out expeditions involving such environments. This paper compares the actuarial and case study methods for predicting reactions to stress. Actuarial studies are useful, but do not tap enough variables to allow us to predict how a specific individual will cope with the rigors of an individual mission. Case histories provide a wealth of detail, but few investigators understand the challenges of properly applying this method. This study reviews some of the strengths and weaknesses of the actuarial and case history methods, and presents a four celled taxonomy of stress based on method (actuarial and case history) and effects (distress and eustress). For both research and operational purposes, the person, the setting, and time should not be considered independently; rather, it is an amalgam of these variables that provides the proper basis of analysis.

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