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Pilot Work Related Stress (WRS), Effects on Wellbeing and Mental Health, and Coping Methods


Objective: The objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between sources of work-related stress (WRS) for pilots, effects on wellbeing, and coping mechanisms.

Background: Recent studies have measured depression levels in pilots but not the relationship between depression levels and coping strategies.

Methods: An anonymous web-based survey was conducted with commercial pilots.

A regression model was advanced to analyze the relationship between each frequency level of each coping strategy and PHQ-9 Scores, and the Odds ratio was interpreted.

Results: Sources of WRS impact on the physical, social, and psychological health of pilots. Not all pilots are suffering. Over half met threshold for mild depression. Nearly 60% are using coping mechanisms to manage WRS and its impact on wellbeing. Pilots using coping mechanisms such as sleep management, taking physical exercise, and diet management were found to have lower depression severity levels.

The findings of this study underscore the need to advance new tools to enable pilot self-management of their health and wellbeing. This includes new training tools, enhanced checklists, and new digital tools to support wellbeing awareness, stress coping, and risk identification both inside and outside the cockpit.

Conclusions: Airlines and pilots need the right tools to safeguard the wellbeing and mental fitness of pilots and ensure flight safety. Pilots, airlines, and aviation regulators can learn from the existing use of coping strategies by pilots

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