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Aviat Space Environ Med. 2014 May;85(5):568-72.

Mission, physical, and war stressors' impact on aircrew psychological strain.



Little is known about the relative impact of the organization of missions on aircrew well-being. Using an occupational stress model we investigate a previously little studied concept of mission stressors and determine its relative impact in comparison to physical and war stressors in the prediction of four strains in deployed aircrews.


Questionnaires were completed by 272 deployed in-aircraft crewmembers. Three new stressors were developed for this study: mission stressors, physical stressors, and war stressors. In addition, four strains were measured: PTSD, depression, sleepiness, and nervousness. Regression analyses were used to examine the relative impact of each stressor on the four strain measures while controlling for age and occupation.


All three stressors played a significant role in the prediction strains with the total explained variance in the analyses ranging from 15% and 39%. Interestingly, mission stressors played the most important role in the prediction of strains possessing the largest partial eta squared in each analysis. The second most important stressor was physical stressors followed by war stressors.


The importance of mission stressors may be because current training is designed to inoculate crewmembers to stressors such as the physical/environmental conditions and violent war actions, but there is no training or acknowledgment of the importance of dealing with mission stressors. Our findings suggest it might be beneficial for commanders to address these stressors, as it may improve short-term psychological well-being, which may ultimately impact mission success and safety.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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