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Idealized Antarctic Experience: Qualitative modeling of relative expectations and injury incidence

Timothy Dye, PhD1, Ann M. Dozier, RN, PhD1, Nancy P. Chin, MPH, PhD1, and Holger Ursin, MD2. (1) Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Avenue -- Box 324, Rochester, NY 14642, 585.273.2586, tim_dye@urmc.rochester.edu, (2) Institutt for biologisk og medisinsk psykologi, Universitetet i Bergen, Jonas Liesvei 91, Bergen, 5009, Norway

Introduction. Few models have been proposed that encompass the circumstances of injury in Antarctica, where injury burden is significant, and upon which successful injury prevention programs can be built. The current study reflects an anthropological approach to modeling the environment and injury incidence from a cultural perspective. Methods. Participant observation and key informant interviewing were adapted to a large Antarctic community. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with 62 individuals and over 500 hours of participant observation occurred in the workplace and socially. Data were transcribed and coded, results discussed with community members, and revised. Results. The Idealized Antarctic Experience, or IAE, refers to dynamic, relative expectations one has of Antarctica and incorporates anticipated experience and events. Residents arrive to the ice with expectations, which often involve physical characteristics of the environment and of human survival. Residents are quickly placed into workteams, however, and are faced with an experience that deviates considerably from expectations. Residents naturally attempt to decrease the dissonance between expected/actual experience, by seeking opportunities that bring them closer to their expectations or through lowering expectations to meet realities. Residents often place themselves at risk to achieve an idealized experience, such as participating in recreation for which they are ill-prepared. Discussion. Understanding how expected/actual experience manifests in the lives of Antarctic residents helps explain risky social and environmental behaviors. Identifying activities that help residents decrease the dissonance between expected/actual experience through enhanced opportunities and through realistic promotion of Antarctic life could potentially reduce injury risk and exposure.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

    Keywords: Injury, Theory

    Related Web page: www.polar.org/antsun/oldissues2002-2003/Sun120802/culture.html

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Agricultural and Occupational Injuries

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA