So, You Think You Can Row? – An Exploratory Study on One Team’s Experience Rowing the Atlantic Ocean

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Artur Poczwardowski, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michael Karson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Trey Cole, Psy.D.


ICE environment, Salutogenic effect, Team dynamics, Team cohesion, Team efficacy, Grit, Hardiness, Ocean rowing

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


Isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) environments are inherently stressful, dangerous, and challenging situations that humans have historically found themselves attracted to conquering or understanding. Although the literature is vast and varied, competitive ocean rowing has not yet been documented as an ICE environment. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (TWAC) is a 3,000 nautical mile race that encompasses all elements of an ICE environment, with the added performance element inherent to competition. This study captured a single team’s experiences completing the TWAC. The combination of quantitative measures and contextual data (interviews) illustrated a robust picture of this team’s challenges and successes in their endeavor to race across the Atlantic. This exploratory research underscored the importance of personnel selection (personality traits) as it is related to team dynamics and the impact team dynamics can have on team efficacy. Although the rowing endeavor was rife with challenges and setbacks, this study provided further evidence of the salutogenic effect following completion of challenging ICE environment missions.


63 pgs

Paper Method

Case Study

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