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Risk of Adverse Cognitive or Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders: Evidence ReportIn April 2010, President Obama declared a space pioneering goal for the United States in general and NASA in particular. "Fifty years after the creation of NASA, our goal is no longer just a destination to reach. Our goal is the capacity for people to work and learn and operate and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time, ultimately in ways that are more sustainable and even indefinite." Thus NASA's Strategic Objective 1.1 emerged as "expand human presence into the solar system and to the surface of Mars to advance exploration, science, innovation, benefits to humanity, and international collaboration" (NASA 2015b). Any space flight, be it of long or short duration, occurs in an extreme environment that has unique stressors. Even with excellent selection methods, the potential for behavioral problems among space flight crews remain a threat to mission success. Assessment of factors that are related to behavioral health can help minimize the chances of distress and, thus, reduce the likelihood of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders arising within a crew. Similarly, countermeasures that focus on prevention and treatment can mitigate the cognitive or behavioral conditions that, should they arise, would impact mission success. Given the general consensus that longer duration, isolation, and confined missions have a greater risk for behavioral health ensuring crew behavioral health over the long term is essential. Risk, which within the context of this report is assessed with respect to behavioral health and performance, is addressed to deter development of cognitive and behavioral degradations or psychiatric conditions in space flight and analog populations, and to monitor, detect, and treat early risk factors, predictors and other contributing factors. Based on space flight and analog evidence, the average incidence rate of an adverse behavioral health event occurring during a space mission is relatively low for the current conditions. While mood and anxiety disturbances have occurred, no behavioral emergencies have been reported to date in space flight. Anecdotal and empirical evidence indicate that the likelihood of an adverse cognitive or behavioral condition or psychiatric disorder occurring greatly increases with the length of a mission. Further, while cognitive, behavioral, or psychiatric conditions might not immediately and directly threaten mission success, such conditions can, and do, adversely impact individual and crew health, welfare, and performance.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Slack, Kelley J.
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Williams, Thomas J.
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Schneiderman, Jason S.
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Whitmire, Alexandra M.
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Picano, James J.
(Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Leveton, Lauren B.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Schmidt, Lacey L.
(Minerva Work Solutions, PLLC Houston, TX, United States)
Shea, Camille
(City of Houston TX, United States)
Date Acquired
April 5, 2016
Publication Date
January 1, 2016
Subject Category
Behavioral Sciences
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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