Aircrew perceived stress: examining crew performance, crew position and captains personality

Aviat Space Environ Med. 2000 Nov;71(11):1093-7.


This study was conducted at NASA Ames Research Center as a part of a larger research project assessing the impact of captain's personality on crew performance and perceived stress in 24 air transport crews (5). Three different personality types for captains were classified based on a previous cluster analysis (3). Crews were comprised of three crewmembers: captain, first officer, and second officer/flight engineer. A total of 72 pilots completed a 1.5-d full-mission simulation of airline operations including emergency situations in the Ames Manned Vehicle System Research Facility B-727 simulator. Crewmembers were tested for perceived stress on four dimensions of the NASA Task Load Index after each of five flight legs. Crews were divided into three groups based on rankings from combined error and rating scores. High performance crews (who committed the least errors in flight) reported experiencing less stress in simulated flight than either low or medium crews. When comparing crew positions for perceived stress over all the simulated flights no significant differences were found. However, the crews led by the "Right Stuff" (e.g., active, warm, confident, competitive, and preferring excellence and challenges) personality type captains typically reported less stress than crewmembers led by other personality types.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerospace Medicine*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Burnout, Professional / classification
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Computer Simulation
  • Emergencies / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Leadership*
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Occupations*
  • Personality Tests
  • Personality*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Professional Competence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • United States
  • Videotape Recording