A NY psychologist has outlined the possible stressful situations which Chilean miners and their rescuers might face in the coming months.
Michael J. Poulin of the University of Buffalo said: "There are few direct parallels to their experience but we know, first of all, that the miners have been greatly deprived of control over their environment, which laboratory and field research indicates is highly stressful."
"Media reports suggest they are coping with this in some effective ways-by taking control of what they can: organizing their living space, choosing leaders, relying on their religious faith and fashioning games and toys out of the materials available to them," he said.
Their colleagues and loved ones at the surface can assist in this process in several ways, said Poulin.
"The most important of which is by insisting that the miners be kept as fully aware of the rescue progress as possible, and consulted for input whenever appropriate," he said.
According to him another source of stress is their very crowded condition.
"One thing that can mitigate stress from that source, is for the miners to establish minimal personal space (e.g., individual sleeping areas), and undertake expeditions into side tunnels, provided these are safe," said Poulin.
"As they receive supplies from the surface. I expect that a common strategy will be for miners to take a page from the subway- or elevator-rider's playbook and carve privacy out of the crowded underground room in which they're trapped by using such techniques as immersing themselves in reading material or listening to music on headphones.
"In response to this, they are almost certainly developing strong bonds with one another. That is a good thing, but another goal for their colleagues on the surface should be to facilitate their frequent communication with loved ones.
"With this in mind, it may be important for the miners to realize that, while they are in the mine, each of them has a responsibility to care not only for themselves but also for their fellow miners," he said.