Emotions in space analogs

Journal study at the MDRS

Emotion management is a process of manipulating one’s own feelings to make them more appropriate to a situation. People use feeling rules – or standards how one is supposed to feel in a situation – to manage their emotions.
Reciprocal emotion management is mutual and sometimes simultaneous management of emotions among people who occupy similar status positions. In workplaces, reciprocal emotion management helps workers to manage their own and their colleagues emotional reactions, serves as a social support mechanism, but also reproduces social inequalities (Lively 2000).
Emotion management in a space analog environment is different from emotion management in a usual workplace due to the lack of separation of “public” vs “private”. This can make emotion management harder, because a person must wear their public face most of the time. Also, living with other people in a closed environment is stressful, and reciprocal emotion management becomes necessary for individuals’ and group well being.
In this project, I approach emotion management from a socio-structural perspective. I want to see whether gender, perceived group hierarchy and emotion management are connected, and if yes, in what ways.
Currently (Fall 2020) I am recruiting participants for this study. I am recruiting people who are about to start their two-week simulations at the Mars Desert Research Station. Study participants will be given a journal and asked to write daily entries during the simulation. Journals have daily prompts, and a short survey in the back asking various socio-demographic questions and perceptions of relationships in the crew. I will schedule follow-up interviews with each participant to get more details about their experience at the MDRS.