Research: psychological responses to the expedition experience

Posted by Dr Nathan Smith on 29/05/2015

Research being conducted at the University of Northampton, in collaboration with the University of Bergen in Norway, is aiming to further explore responses to the expedition experience.

“…if I've learned anything in nearly 12 years now of dragging heavy things around cold places, it is that true, real inspiration and growth only comes from adversity and from challenge, from stepping away from what's comfortable and familiar and stepping out into the unknown”      polar explorer Ben Saunders


Many individuals choose to participate in often arduous and challenging expeditions. While there have been a number of attempts to examine the psychological processes that underpin engagement in such activities, the benefits experienced as a result of these type of challenge are still not well understood.

Research being conducted at the University of Northampton, in collaboration with the University of Bergen in Norway, is aiming to further explore responses to the expedition experience. Dr Nathan Smith (University of Northampton) is leading on a study examining the factors underpinning post-expedition growth, including the characteristics of the expedition, individual personality factors and a variety of psychological responses including resilience and well-being.

If you are over the age of 18 and have participated in at least 1 expedition (i.e., ‘a journey with a purpose between 2 or more locations’) lasting 7 days or more, then we would love to hear about and learn from your experiences.

The online questionnaire will take approximately 15 minutes of your time. On completion of the study, all participants will be emailed an infographic that concisely summarises the findings and are welcome to discuss the results with the lead researcher who can be contacted by email here Nathan.smith@northampton.ac.uk or on Twitter here @PsychEd4Sport

Click here to go to the survey

This study forms part of a larger body of work examining post-expedition growth and psychology in extreme and isolated environments.    

Dr Nathan Smith is a Lecturer in Sport Psychology at the University of Northampton. He is an outdoor enthusiast and has a particular interest in psychology in extreme and isolated conditions. 



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