Flight Anxiety Reported from 1986 to 2015

Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2019 Apr 1;90(4):384-388. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.5125.2019.


BACKGROUND: Fear of flying is one of the most common phobias. It hinders people in performing their work and hampers family relations. Even though flight traffic has increased, there are new fears. Valid studies are needed to answer whether there have been changes in the prevalence of flight anxiety, are there sex differences in relation to fear of flying, use of alcohol, and tranquilizers, which situations cause the most flight anxiety, and whether the above factors have changed compared to a similar study from 1986.METHODS: A questionnaire was distributed to a representative random sample of the Norwegian population (N = 5500), where 36% answered. To assess flight anxiety across the time period, we used similar instruments to those we used in 1986.RESULTS: The prevalence of an assumed flight phobia decreased from 8% in 1986 to 3% in 2015. The percentage of those reported to never fly had decreased from 5% in 1986 to 0.5% in 2015. There were 11.0% who always used alcohol in 1986 and 7.5% in 2015 and 3% and 2%, respectively, always used tranquillizers. More women reported being afraid of both flying and other situations compared to men. Turbulence, unknown sounds, and fear of terror attacks caused the most anxiety.DISCUSSION: Flight anxiety still affects a considerable proportion of the Norwegian population and more women than men report that they are afraid of flying. However, in spite of methodology, people are significantly less afraid of flying than in 1986.Grimholt TK, Bonsaksen T, Schou-Bredal I, Heir T, Lerdal A, Skogstad L, Ekeberg Ø. Flight anxiety reported from 1986 to 2015. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2019; 90(4):384-388.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerospace Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aerospace Medicine / trends
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Aviation / statistics & numerical data
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Self Report / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Phobia, Specific