Behavioral and psychological issues in long-duration head-down bed rest

Kimberly A. Seaton, Kendra E. Bowie, Walter A. Sipes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: This report is one of a series on the Flight Analogs Project, which is designed to lay the groundwork for a standard bed rest protocol. Behavioral health services, similar to those offered to the U.S. astronauts who undertake 6-mo missions onboard the International Space Station, were provided to 13 long-duration head-down bed rest participants. Long-duration missions pose unique challenges and stressors, including separation from primary support group, monotonous environment, and loss of privacy and autonomy. Methods: The psychological services team, consisting of a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a master's level psychological support scientist, provided behavioral health services throughout all phases of the Flight Analogs Project (FAP) long-duration head-down bed rest study. During the initial screening phase, potential candidates completed 4 h of psychological testing and a 1.5-h clinical interview with a psychologist to assess their psychological fitness and ability to complete the study successfully. Additionally, the psychological services team provided pre-admission trainings on time management, stress management, and communication skills and conflict resolution. Throughout their stay on the research unit, study participants received regular individual and group visits from the psychological services team. Training was also provided to study personnel to address personality and behavioral management challenges. Results: Psychological support and training provided to both subjects and study personnel have successfully improved the well being of study participants. Discussion: Behavioral health services are indispensable to long-duration head-down bed rest studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A55-A61
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number5 PART 2
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotional support
  • Spaceflight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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