Astronauts, firefighters, paramedics and interpersonal conflicts

What are the astronauts and firefighters like? They both need extensive training on complex equipment, face the possibility of dying every day, live where they work, develop strong bonds, and strong teamwork and cooperation are the key. key to their success. And, conflicts can cause major problems for both.

According to Dr. James Cartreine, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, “If two astronauts don’t get along well, it can have an impact on the success of the mission, and if two firefighters or paramedics have problems, it can potentially interfere. with rescue operations. Conflict can even put lives in danger if people do not fully support each other. Cartreine points out that teams of astronauts, firefighters and paramedics generally get along well, but when they don’t, the consequences can be dire. “You can imagine that even if you are good friends, when you spend all of your time together doing stressful work with few breaks, people can get angry at each other,” Cartreine said. A computer program to assist astronauts in conflict is currently being tested by firefighters and paramedics nationwide.

NASA is concerned enough about crew conflict to fund the development of an interactive media program to help astronauts manage conflict. According to Cartreine, the Crew Conflict Program asks you a number of questions to fully understand the conflict, and then guides you through finding ways to negotiate a resolution. Or, if it really can’t be resolved, how to do your job and keep your peace of mind despite the conflict. But the program isn’t a tabletop mediator – it doesn’t tie together information from both parties to the conflict, and the other person in the conflict wouldn’t even know someone else is using it. Firefighters and paramedics use the program independently and find ways to improve the situation.

The program draws on science from a variety of fields including psychology, legal arbitration, work management, business negotiation, marriage and family counseling, and even approaches to schoolyard conflict. which have been shown to be effective. Cartreine also received comments from three of the largest fire departments in the United States and NASA medics. The program offers “virtual coaching sessions” with an expert who appears in hundreds of short audio and video clips. Even though the program is automated, it feels like you’re interacting with a real person. Each user has a unique experience that is tailored to their specific needs and responds to their feedback. As a result, users receive the most useful type of help in resolving their labor disputes.

Cartreine points out that although conflict occurs every day in every workplace, there has never been a systematic study of an intervention for co-worker conflict in any industry. Thus, this appears to be the first study of a way to manage peer conflict in the workplace. The project is now recruiting firefighters and paramedics on If the program works with them, it will go to the astronauts. The study is being conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, and is funded by NASA through the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Media production and programming was carried out by The Modern Media Troupe of Windham, New Hampshire (

The Crew Conflict Program is part of a larger suite of interactive multimedia programs developed by Cartreine, dubbed the “Virtual Space Station” to help astronauts prevent, detect and manage their own psychological and social problems during long space missions. Other Virtual Space Station programs help astronauts deal with their own clinical depression, manage chronic stress, and track their mood and the amount of conflict among their crew. Depression treatment and stress management programs have already been shown to be effective in other studies.

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