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17 March 2023 - 17 March 2023

1:00PM - 2:00PM

L50, Psychology building

  • Free

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This talk is part of the Department of Psychology seminar series at Durham University.

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The resilience of Polar expeditioners has interested researchers for over 50 years. However, much of the work has been summarised as highly descriptive and without a firm theoretical position. Therefore, this study applied a social ecological conceptualisation of resilience with Basic Psychological Needs Theory. The primary aim to investigate if the basic needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness can help to explain the relationship between numerous resilience supporting variables previously associated with resilience. A cross-sectional study was completed with 95 Polar expeditioners (Male = 49; Female = 42; Other = 4), with an average age of 37 years (SD = 10.19) who had completed either mobile, research base (and associated roles) placements (Physical = 16; Research = 68; Other = 11) in the last 3-years. The study included expeditions to both the Arctic (n = 50) and Antarctica (n = 45). Hierarchical regression analyses showed that autonomy partially mediated the effect of personal resilience, coping flexibility, connection to nature; and fully mediated the effect of community support on well-being. Whilst relatedness fully mediated the effect of community support on ill-being. And autonomy and relatedness fully mediated the effect of personal resilience and friend support on ill-being. To conclude, this study has shown that the basic needs for autonomy and relatedness have shown significant relationships to multiple variables supporting the resilience of Polar expeditioners. This finding adds to a small body of studies in extreme environments that support the potential for developing interventions and training that focus on basic psychological needs.