An important human factors research interest area is error reduction. Although pilots placed in highly stressful situations have an increased chance of making errors, they use coping skills to lower their stress level and reduce the likelihood of errors. Typically, coping skills are conceptually separated into three types: active coping skills change the situation to make it inherently less stressful, emotion-focused coping skills use discussion or thinking about the situation in a different way to diminish the negative emotional reaction associated with the stressful situation, and avoidant coping skills allow one to mentally and/or physically disengage through the use of daydreams, sleep, drugs, and/or alcohol. In this research project, a sample of 49 inexperienced private pilots and 30 experienced multi-engine commercial pilots were surveyed to determine if significant differences existed between their levels of perceived stress and the frequency with which they used different types of coping skills using a one-time, written survey. Variables measured included demographic information, perceived level of stress, and coping skills usage. The results showed that there was an association between experience level and stress (F = 5.46, p = .022), emotional coping, (r = .200, p = .078) and instrumental coping (r = .201, p = .075).
error reduction, coping skills, collegiate aviatiors
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