УДК 159.9

What psychological factors aid an individual in adjustment to the extreme professions?

Лещанова Дарья Валерьевна – аспирант Донского государственного технического университета.

Abstract: Human cognitive system has worked out an adjustment mechanism aimed at support of comfort-zone purposeful behavior, where an individual obtains control to certain extent. However, people of extreme professions choose for life and work the extreme conditions of a polar base, a space station, a submarine, etc., in other words, the environment not optimally suitable, but capable to be adopted to by means of coping strategies. Present article purports to consider the psychological factors aiding in the adjustment to the aforesaid. 

Abstract: Our cognitive system has adapted to support purposeful behavior in our normal environment, over which we have some degree of control. However, people of extreme professions prefer to live and work in exceptional conditions, such as a polar base, a space station, a submarine, etc.; that is, in an environment to which they are not optimally adapted, but can find some degree of adaptation by developing coping strategies. In the article we will look at what psychological factors help them in this.

Аннотация: Наша когнитивная система адаптировалась для поддержки целенаправленного поведения в нашей обычной среде, над которой мы имеем некоторую степень контроля. Однако люди экстремальных профессий предпочитают жить и работать в исключительных условиях, таких как полярная база, космическая станция, подводная лодка и т.д.; то есть в среде, к которой они не приспособлены оптимально, но могут найти некоторую степень адаптации, путем разработки стратегий преодоления. В статье мы рассмотрим какие психологические факторы помогают им в этом.

Keywords: psychological factors, cognitive system, extreme professions, environment, adaptation.

Ключевые слова: психологические факторы, когнитивная система, экстремальные профессии, среда, адаптация.

The relevance of the topic is associated with an increased interest of the modern society to the extreme activities. Such activity involves maximum strong sensations from standing on the sharpest edge of death or life, and inspires an aggravate rage to live. As a rule, such activities presume work in a difficult environment for life. Normally, this is an environment to which a person is not optimally adapted, but is capable of achieving necessary adjustment by developing certain coping strategies.

Complicated conditions in people dealing with extreme professions may be outstanding, and include, for example, a polar base, a space station, a submarine, a prison, an intensive care unit, an isolation room, etc., or extreme, with more severe natural challenges and a real or perceived lack of control over the situation, for example, survival at sea, in the mountains, on board of a crashing aircraft and so on. [2 p.108]

These conditions are selected by the people of extreme professions, like explorers and adventurers, submariners, divers working under water (who can be isolated for a long time in saturation pressure chambers), astronauts participating in space flights and working on space stations. [9 p.415–423]

A human is peculiar with high stability and ability to adapt to the most diverse environmental conditions [1 p.33]. Our cognitive system is basically robust, reliable, and flexible when interacting with different environments, and this foundation of our behavior has always been critical in allowing the human species to inhabit every type of terrain on the planet.

Adaptation is the tendency to adapt to the environment. It is the process by which people match the initial and new experience, which may not be compatible with each other. According to Piaget, there are two processes in cognitive development, namely, assimilation and accommodation.[5 p.49]

Humans have became used to an optimal environment, which means both interacting with that environment through purposeful behavior and having some control and choice over that environment. However, the more the environment deviates from the optimal, the less control and the more reactivity it involves.

Examples of adaptability include being flexible with changing circumstances, being ready for new challenges, and changing the mode of work when interacting in team to ensure project success. People with adaptive skills are flexible and ready to change depending on circumstances.[6p.106-109]

People of extreme professions are able to adapt and cope not only in ordinary conditions, but also in exceptional, extreme and even painful conditions. What psychological factors underlie their success?

It is, first of all, sustainability. Means, the ability of people to quickly and successfully adapt to stressful, traumatic events without returning to their original state. Sustainability is described as an evolving process influenced by various biological, social and environmental factors. [7 p.55]

 Even more evidence speaks in favor of resilience to take part in the development of positive psychological traits. [3pp.123-132] Various studies have shown the crucial role of resilience in the ability of individuals to form a healthy response, enduring trauma, and this has been noted at all ages. [4 p.81]

Humans have the ability to protect themselves and cope with adverse events or inputs that may challenge their psychobiological homeostasis. In this respect resilience is considered a contribution as a protective mechanism and protective factor. [8p.159-164] A high-level resilience acts as a protective factor, while a lower level increases vulnerability to the development of pathological consequences of adverse environmental events. [10 p.95-102]

Resilience building strategies are the ability to make realistic plans and take steps to implement them; formation of a positive view of oneself and confidence in one's own strengths and abilities, communication and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to manage strong feelings and impulses. All these are factors that help people adjust to extreme professions.


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