What makes a happy, healthy, and successful Polar Researcher?

This psychological project assesses and explores individual strengths, traits, attitudes, and resources of a team of researchers travelling to Svalbard in August 2021. It contributes to the field of positive psychology.

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Project type

  • field work
  • education and outreach


  • social sciences
  • other

Project Keywords

  • human dimensions / attitudes,preferences,behavior
  • human dimensions / human health

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The research project "What makes a happy, healthy, and successful Polar Researcher?" is located within the field of positive psychology. It aims to analyse work-related patterns of experience and behaviour in the crew of the Timeless Arctic 2021 Expedition, and to explore which traits, attitudes, and resources enable those individuals to work in a fulfilling, healthy, and productive manner. To do so, an assessment of work-related patterns of experience and behaviour will be executed using the empirically validated test instrument AVEM, a multi-dimensional personality-diagnostical procedure used for the differentiated analysis of attitude towards and satisfaction with work on eleven scales, with a focus on health-related statements. Further, explorative qualitative interviews will be conducted (based on a semi-structured interview guideline) focusing on factors such as purpose of work, resilience, resources to meet challenging and stressful situations, dealing with challenges, and motivational focus. AVEM results will be clustered into pattern groups, the interview data will be analysed following structured content analysis as proposed by Mayring (see e.g. Mayring, 2005; 2010). The goal is to identify traits, attitudes, approaches, resources, and behavioural patterns shared by researchers working in a healthy, engaged manner. This should contribute to the broader field of what may enable a person to be highly productive while also feeling fulfilled, satisfied, and maintaining good health - especially in extreme situations/circumstances. The project owner is Merle Schmidt.

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