Task Behavioral Issues Associated with Long Duration Space Missions: Review of Astronaut Journals (Completed)
Last Published:  07/31/19 10:05:33 AM (Central)
Short Title: Journals
Responsible HRP Element: Behavioral Health and Performance
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):

Aim: This project is a focused study of behavior and performance issues during expeditions to ISS.  The primary aim of this study is to obtain behavioral and human factors data from a systematic analysis of astronaut journals maintained during ISS increments. Crew members will maintain personal journals for subsequent review and content analysis, which will provide a rank-ordering of behavioral issues associated with ISS missions.


Behavioral Issues Associated with Isolation and Confinement: Review and Analysis of Astronaut Journals (Journals), is studying the behavioral effects of life in isolation and confinement using surveys and journals kept by the crew. By quantifying the importance of behavioral issues to long-duration crews, the study will help NASA design equipment and procedures to allow astronauts to best cope with isolation and long-duration space flight.


A previous content analysis of journals maintained during long-duration expeditions on Earth (e.g., to the Antarctic) provided quantitative data on which to base a rank-ordering of behavioral issues in terms of importance. Journals uses the same content evaluation techniques on journals kept by ISS crewmembers. The objective is to identify equipment, habitat, and procedural features that can help humans when adjusting to isolation and confinement while ensuring they remain effective and productive during future long-duration space flights.

While on orbit, crewmembers make journal entries at least three times a week in a personal journal. In format, their journal can be either electronic (i.e., using an ISS laptop) or paper. In addition to the journal entries, participating crewmembers complete a brief electronic questionnaire at the mid-point of their Expeditions.

Studies on Earth have shown that analyzing the content of journals and diaries is an effective means of identifying issues that are most important to the person recording his or her thoughts. The method is based on the assumption that the frequency that an issue is mentioned in a journal reflects the importance of that issue or category to the writer. The tone of each entry (positive, negative, or neutral) and phase of the Expedition are also variables of interest. Study results will lead to recommendations for the design of equipment, facilities, procedures, and training to help sustain behavioral adjustment and performance during long-duration Expeditions on ISS, or to the moon, Mars, and beyond. These studies can also assist on Earth with Antarctic missions, service on submarines, etc., anywhere humans choose to work in confinement or isolation.