Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Every day aircraft pilots must successfully resolve significant inflight situations and then manage the possibility of residual psychological and physiological stress. Previous research has shown primary attention is given to presignificant event training and stress management, however there remains an important gap in the current literature regarding postsignificant event stress within the aviation profession. The purpose of this cross-sectional quantitative study was to use the observational lens of stress theory and survey U.S. pilots who have experienced an inflight emergency, looking for correlation between factors such as age, gender, flight experience, and training against a pilot's self-reported level of residual stress. Using snowball sampling methodology, 101 pilots were anonymously surveyed, with 89% responding that they had some level of residual stress via the Impact of Event Scale-Revised instrument. Using multiple linear regression analysis, the correlation between 9 personal and professional characteristics and pilot's stress level was significant, at R2 =.22, adjusted R2=.14, F(9, 91) = 2.8, p < .01. The sample's correlation coefficient was .47, indicating that approximately 22% of the variance in the residual stress was accounted for by the 9 personal and professional characteristics. Findings from this research will help clarify how pilot training and demographics can affect postsignificant event stress. This knowledge will be an important contribution to the existing literature and enhance social initiatives though an increased awareness of residual stress within the pilot profession. The results can be used to increase aviation safety by enabling the industry and government entities to develop and implement effective stress training initiatives.