Air Traffic Controller Stress and Stress Management in Antigua, Barbados and Guyana

Scotland, Brent (2017) Air Traffic Controller Stress and Stress Management in Antigua, Barbados and Guyana. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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A review of the literature on stress and air traffic control reveals that air traffic control is a stressful profession. However, no statistical information of the percentages of stressed or unstressed air traffic controllers (with which to compare to the results of this study) were found during the literature review. Statistics provided by the airport authorities of each relevant country showed average traffic levels annually for the previous 4 years: 52816 flights for Antigua (high); 36324 for Barbados (medium); and 30382 for Guyana (low).

The findings of this study show that air traffic controllers in Antigua (30%) and Barbados (30%) are predominantly not stressed, whileless stressed than those in Guyana are split (50%). This may suggestreveals that higher air traffic intensity does not increase the stress levels of air traffic controllers in each country. As shown in the results section, stress is more easily influenced by the number of hours worked by the air traffic controllers, the team compatibility, the technology, and the personal conditions to which he or she is exposed, as opposed to the number of aircraft being handled (traffic intensity).

Possible reasons as to why stress levels are not as high as reported in the literature (with the exception of Guyana) include: (1) Most of the literature conducted studies in North America, South America, and Europe, and as a result, the findings in this study reflect the slow paced way of life native to the Caribbean; (2) air traffic controllers in the Caribbean may not regard their job as stressful because they are not predisposed to view this type of work in such a manner; and (3) Caribbean air traffic controllers may not have as much air traffic intensity as the larger developed nations. However, in the case of Guyana (which has the lowest levels of air traffic intensity), under arousal may contribute to stress there (see Costa, 1996, p.2).

Questionnaires were distributed to the three air traffic control offices of each country, and findings were categorized into three groups. These were: (1) Responses that supported the literature; (2) Responses that contradicted the literature; and (3) Responses that provided additional information that was not found in the literature (extrapolated from control questions).

Although air traffic controllers in Antigua and Barbados were not predominantly stressed (30%), higher levels of stress were experienced in Guyana (50%). Results revealed certain areas that need improvement, which should be implemented in Guyana, and could potentially reduce stress even more in Antigua and Barbados. Further studies on improvements recommended by this article could be conducted to measure the subsequent stress levels of air traffic controllers after the implementation of such recommendations.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Scotland, Brent
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2018 11:12
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2018 15:18

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