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The Lived Experience & Wellbeing Project


Project Overview

This project examines the effects of work-related stress (WRS) on aviation worker wellbeing and the associated impact on performance and flight safety. Further our research addresses solutions to WRS and wellbeing challenges for aviation workers both an organisational and employee/worker level. This includes processes and tools for health and safety protection and promotion, and the allied specification of an integrated health/wellbeing and safety culture (referred to as Wellbeing II).
This research is independent. However, the Lived Experience & Wellbeing Project have active collaboration with aviation stakeholders – including the regulator and industry wellbeing and safety working groups.

Current Research & Validation with 'Wellbeing & Safety Community of Practice'

If you would like to partake in any of our research and/or obtain further information, please contact Joan Cahill or Paul Cullen (see contacts section).

Our current research is addressing seven themes – see below. We would very much welcome aviation stakeholder participation/evaluation in this.

  1. Understand WRS & its impact on health and wellbeing and performance and safety.
  2. Preventative and integrated wellbeing and safety management approaches (Wellbeing II).
  3. Processes, tools and training at an organisational level to support Wellbeing II.
  4. Evaluation of wellbeing culture associated wellbeing indicators.
  5. Predictive and proactive management of wellbeing and safety risk in Safety Management System (SMS).
  6. Technologies to support self-management of health and wellbeing, and addressing the home/work interface, for aviation workers.
  7. Addressing ethics in the design/evaluation of workplace health and wellbeing interventions.


Research Strands & Stakeholder Groups

Our research is structured in terms of several interrelated strands of activity relevant to the following four stakeholder groups:

  1. All aviation workers
  2. Airlines and aviation organisations
  3. Pilots
  4. Aviation system

1. All Aviation Workers

  • Understanding the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on aviation workers and the aviation system (All Aviation Workers).
  • Identifying requirements for wellbeing supports and tools for safety critical workers and others.
  • Supporting fitness for duty evaluation and aeromedical assessment.
  • Addressing wellbeing culture and an integrated approach to health/wellbeing and safety culture.

2. Airlines and aviation organisations

  • Wellbeing management and support
  • Managing wellbeing risk within Safety Management System (SMS)
  • Addressing wellbeing culture and an integrated approach to health/wellbeing and safety culture.

3. Pilots

  • Mapping the wellbeing problem space.
  • Evaluating the regulatory approach to managing wellbeing
  • Measuring WRS & Wellbeing.
  • Understanding and measuring the impact of WRS on wellbeing, performance, and safety.
  • Understanding coping – why do some workers cope better than others.
  • Advancing a behavior model supporting the conceptualization of the problem, its impact, and the solution challenge
  • Change – wellbeing solutions for pilots and airlines.
  • Addressing wellbeing culture and an integrated approach to health/wellbeing and safety culture.

In relation to our research with Pilots, we have funding from Enterprise Ireland to develop tools to support pilot management of wellbeing both inside and outside of work.


4. Aviation System

  • Mapping the wellbeing problem space at a systems level
  • Evaluating the regulatory approach to managing wellbeing
  • Wellbeing promotion
  • Change – identifying solutions for aviation workers and aviation organisations.
  • COVID 19 pandemic recovery roadmap
  • Addressing wellbeing culture and an integrated approach to health/wellbeing and safety culture.

Research Team

TCD Team

  • Dr Joan Cahill (Principal Investigator), CIHS, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin
  • Captain Paul Cullen (Research Associate), CIHS, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin
  • Sohaib Anwer (Research Assistant, Data Science), CIHS, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin
  • Fiona Hegarty (Research Assistant, Computer Science/Software Development), CIHS, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin
  • Prof Simon Wilson (Data Analysis), School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin

Collaborators

  • Prof Keith Gaynor (Collaborator, Mental Health), Health Sciences, UCD

Aviation Wellbeing & Mental Health Groups

Dr Joan Cahill & Captain Paul Cullen are members of the RaeS Wellbeing Group and the EASA Wellbeing Group. We also collaborate with stakeholders from the Flight Safety Foundation and the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA).

Publications & Industry Presentations

International Journals

Conference Papers & Posters

  • Cahill, J., Cullen P, Anwer S, & Gaynor R. (2021). The Impact of the COVID 19 Pandemic on Aviation Workers & The Aviation System. Paper presented at the International Symposium on Aviation Psychology (ISAP) 2021, and published in conference proceedings. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1148. Pages 164 - 171
  • Cahill, J., Cullen, P. & Gaynor, K. (2019). Estimating the Impact of Work-Related Stress on Pilot Wellbeing and Flight Safety. Proceedings of the International symposium on Aviation Psychology, 7-10 May 2019, Dayton, Ohio, USA.  
  • Cahill, J., Cullen, P., & Gaynor, K. (2018). ‘Estimating the Impact of Work-Related Stress on Pilot Wellbeing and Flight Safety’. Paper presented at the second International Symposium on Human Mental Workload: Models and Applications (H-WORKLOAD 2018), Amsterdam (September 20-21, 2018), Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), The Netherlands.

Industry Articles, Presentations, Webinars and Podcasts

  • Cahill, J & Cullen P (7 October 2021). Wellbeing Among Aviation Professionals, Your Health, Your Life, Your Career. Watch the video presentation.
  • Cahill, J & Cullen P (18 May 2021). The impact of COVID 19 on the aviation system and aviation workers. Lessons learned for Engineering & Maintenance (Stress, WRS, Coping Mechanisms & Resilience). RAeS Human Factors Specialist Group (Engineering and Maintenance) Conference.
  • Cahill, J & Cullen, P. (27 April 2021). Wellbeing II: Using emerging technologies to support resilience, improve wellbeing culture and the management of wellbeing risk in safety management systems. Royal Aeronautical Society (RaeS) Annual Conference. Mental Health & Going Beyond Compliance.
  • Cahill, J & Cullen, P. (April 2021). The Lived Experience of Aviation Workers & Addressing Psychosocial Risk in the Workplace. Podcast with Joelle Mitchell & Jason van Schie (peoplediagnostix.com.au).
  • Cahill, J & Cullen, P. (October 19, 2020). 73 International Safety Summit 2020.The Perfect Storm - Impact of COVID on Aviation Workers and the Aviation System. Event hosted online by Flight Safety Foundation (Virtual Presentation/Event). https://www.gotostage.com/channel/d50c6ccea7dd497386920713db3b54fa/recording/cb36d8f100374d6c9eade8b8c82597a5/watch.
  • Cahill, J & Cullen, P. (September 30, 2020). Wellbeing-I vs Wellbeing-II – Stress Coping & Resilience. EAAP Presentation. European Association for Aviation Psychologists (EAAP), 34th Annual Conference (Virtual Presentation/Event).
  • Nelson, H., Kremer, P., Anthony, T., Atherton, M., Cahill, J., Cullen, P., Drozdowski, S., Franklin, J., Gillen, M., Talacchia, M., Steinhardt, G., Vernay, A & Whittingham, D. (2020). An Aviation Professional’s Guide to Wellbeing. Flight Safety Foundation. https://flightsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guide-to-Wellbeing.pdf
  • Cullen, P., Cahill, J. & Gaynor, K. (2020). Turbulent Times – How Dow We Fly Straight & Level During Turbulent Times? https://www.tcd.ie/cihs/assets/pdf/TurbulentTimes.pdf.
  • Captain Paul Cullen discusses pilot wellbeing in his article in Hindsight 30 magazine.
  • Cullen, P & Cahill, J. Understanding Pilot Wellbeing & the Impact of Work-Related Stress. (2019). Presentation at the Aerospace Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference. Royal Aeronautical Society. May 22 - 23, 2019, London. https://www.aerosociety.com/media/10922/aerospace-mental-health-and-wellbeing-programme.pdf.
  • Cahill, J & Cullen, P. Understanding Pilot Wellbeing & the Impact of Work-Related Stress. Presentation at the Conference on Aviation Wellbeing. Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). 25 April 2019, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Cullen, P., Cahill, J., & Gaynor, K. (2018). Work-Related Stress, Pilot Wellbeing and Flight Safety. Paper presented at the Wellbeing in Aviation Conference (Sponsored by the Irish Aviation Authority), Dublin, May 25, 2019.
  • Cullen, P., Cahill, J., & Gaynor, K. (2018). Pilot wellbeing. Presentation to the European Regions Airline Association (ERRA). Toulouse, 19 September 2018
  • Cullen, P., Cahill, J. & Gaynor, K. (2018) ‘Managing Mental Health Issues in Pilots’. Poster presented at the 6th Annual Safety Forum, 29-30 May 2018, Eurocontrol, Brussels. https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Portal:Safety_Behaviours
  • Cullen, P., Cahill, J. & Gaynor, K. (2018) ‘Understanding Pilot wellbeing and its impact on flight safety. Presentation at Human Performance in Pilots the Next 40 Years, Royal Aeronautical Society, Annual Conference, 24 April 2018. London, UK
  • Cullen, P., Cahill, J. & Gaynor, K. (2018). Pilot mental health – the lived experience. Article in March Edition of Focus, United Kingdom, Flight Safety Committee (UKFSC).
  • Cullen, P., Cahill, J. & Gaynor, K. (2017). Pilot wellbeing. Paper presented at the Flight Safety Foundation 2017 – 70th International Air Safety Submit (IASS), Dublin, October 23-25, 2017.
  • Cahill, J., Cullen, P & Gaynor, K. (2016) ‘Managing Mental Health Issues in Pilots’. Paper presented at the Human Factors in Aviation Safety Conference, November 2016.

White Papers & Working Documents

  • Cahill, J. (2021). Wellbeing Culture Indicators.
  • Cahill, J, Cullen P, Anwer S, & Gaynor R. The Case for Change: Wellbeing II,  Addressing Wellbeing and Advancing an Integrated Health & Safety Culture.

Vignettes

Turbulent Times /Covid 19 Context

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White Paper on the findings of the COVID 2020 Survey pertaining to the impact of the COVID 19 Pandemic on aviation workers and the aviation system. Download the white paper.

Summary Poster on the findings of the COVID 2020 Survey. Download the summary poster.

How Do We Fly Straight & Level During Turbulent Times?
The 'Lived Experience' team have put together the following booklet, based on the initial findings of our recent Pilot Wellbeing survey.
https://www.tcd.ie/cihs/assets/pdf/TurbulentTimes.pdf

We hope that this booklet helps many of our fellow pilots and cabin crew protect their mental wellbeing during these particularly tough & challenging times being experienced by many.
Download the Turbulent Times booket.

 

 

Flight Safety Foundation – A guide to Wellbeing for Aviation Workers. https://flightsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guide-to-Wellbeing.pdf

Download the FSF Wellbeing Guide.
COVID Action Plan & Questions

You can also read our Pilot Lived Experience Covid action plan and ongoing research to support wellbeing for pilots.

Wellbeing, COVID context and key questions to ask yourself.

You can also read our Pilot Lived Experience Covid action plan and ongoing research to support wellbeing for pilots.
Wellbeing, COVID context and key questions to ask yourself.
Supports and Links

Wellbeing Supports & Links


The following table presents some links to support groups and information.


Samaritans

https://www.samaritans.org

European Agency for Safety and Health in Work (EU-OSHA)

https://osha.europa.eu/en/themes/covid-19-resources-workplace#pk_campaign=ban_homecw

EASA COVID-19 Support Material

https://www.easa.europa.eu/community/content/covid-19-support-material

Flight Safety Foundation

https://flightsafety.org/toolkits-resources/covid-19-safety-roadmap-and-punch-lists/
https://flightsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guide-to-Wellbeing.pdf

Aviation Action

https://aviationaction.org/

European Aviation Mental Well-being Initiative (EAM-WELL)

http://eppsi.eu/

European Pilot Peer Support Initiative

http://eppsi.eu/european-aviation-mental-well-being-initiative-eam-well/

RAeS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT8uB7fVV44&feature=emb_title

Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA)

COVID-19 - Aviation Personnel and Mental Health Support (David Schroeder,2020)

Australian Psychological Association (APA)

https://www.psychology.org.au/getmedia/3821ed7a-1a8a-4e1d-b303-2943ea9ae6b7/20APS-IS-COVID-19-Public-P2_2.pdf

American Psychiatric Association

https://psychiatry.ucsf.edu/coronavirus/coping
https://blogs.webmd.com/mental-health/20200409/what-to-do-if-youre-struggling

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

https://nami.org/Support-Education/NAMI-HelpLine/COVID-19-Information-and-Resources

National Institutes of Health

https://www.nih.gov/health-information/your-healthiest-self-wellness-toolkits

RAeS Webinar: Mental Wellbeing and Human Performance

The RAeS Webinar: Mental Wellbeing and Human Performance took place on Thursday April 30th from 10am to 11am (BST).

The webinar focussed on the new EASA regulation that airlines operating in Europe must implement by Autumn 2020 and also offered a unique opportunity to preview what the Conference in 2021 will have to offer.

Webinar Speakers:

Marc Atherton MRAeS, Consultant Psychologist, will present on the implications of the regulation and what it means for your organisation. The regulation makes the provision of psychological support mandatory by covering three key areas:

1) Psychological testing of aircrew pre-employments
2) Access to psychological support resource
3) Substance abuse testing on a random basis

Dr Joan Cahill, Principal Investigator and Paul Cullen, Research Associate, both from Trinity College Dublin presented on Pilot Wellbeing, Stress Coping Practices and Rresilience.

Questions asked during the webinar by participants will be compiled and answered Joan and Paul and published here shortly.

You can view a video of the presentations below.

Contacts

For more information, please contact