+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Airplane pilot mental health and suicidal thoughts: a cross-sectional descriptive study via anonymous web-based survey

Airplane pilot mental health and suicidal thoughts: a cross-sectional descriptive study via anonymous web-based survey

Environmental Health 15(1): 121

The Germanwings Flight 9525 crash has brought the sensitive subject of airline pilot mental health to the forefront in aviation. Globally, 350 million people suffer from depression-a common mental disorder. This study provides further information on this important topic regarding mental health especially among female airline pilots. This is the first study to describe airline pilot mental health-with a focus on depression and suicidal thoughts-outside of the information derived from aircraft accident investigations, regulated health examinations, or identifiable self-reports, which are records protected by civil aviation authorities and airline companies. This is a descriptive cross-sectional study via an anonymous web-based survey administered between April and December 2015. Pilots were recruited from unions, airline companies, and airports via convenience sampling. Data analysis included calculating absolute number and prevalence of health characteristics and depression scores. One thousand eight hundred thirty seven (52.7%) of the 3485 surveyed pilots completed the survey, with 1866 (53.5%) completing at least half of the survey. 233 (12.6%) of 1848 airline pilots responding to the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), and 193 (13.5%) of 1430 pilots who reported working as an airline pilot in the last seven days at time of survey, met depression threshold-PHQ-9 total score ≥ 10. Seventy-five participants (4.1%) reported having suicidal thoughts within the past two weeks. We found a significant trend in proportions of depression at higher levels of use of sleep-aid medication (trend test z = 6.74, p < 0.001) and among those experiencing sexual harassment (z = 3.18, p = 0.001) or verbal harassment (z = 6.13, p < 0.001). Hundreds of pilots currently flying are managing depressive symptoms perhaps without the possibility of treatment due to the fear of negative career impacts. This study found 233 (12.6%) airline pilots meeting depression threshold and 75 (4.1%) pilots reporting having suicidal thoughts. Although results have limited generalizability, there are a significant number of active pilots suffering from depressive symptoms. We recommend airline organizations increase support for preventative mental health treatment. Future research will evaluate additional risk factors of depression such as sleep and circadian rhythm disturbances.

Please choose payment method:

(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 059338273

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27974043

DOI: 10.1186/s12940-016-0200-6

Related references

Anorexia nervosa, depression and suicidal thoughts among Chinese adolescents: a national school-based cross-sectional study. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 22(1): 30, 2017

Mental health among single mothers in Cyprus: a cross-sectional descriptive correlational study. Bmc Women's Health 19(1): 67, 2019

Mental health of jail inmates within the prison of Ducos, Martinique - a cross-sectional descriptive study. Revue d'Epidemiologie et de Sante Publique 66(3): 201-207, 2018

Mental health of jail inmates within the prison of Ducos, Martinique a cross-sectional descriptive study. Revue D'épidémiologie et de Santé Publique 66(3): 201-207, 2018

Psychiatric Disorders in Drop out from Educational Attainment Attending Mental Health Facilities: A Descriptive Cross Sectional Study. Mymensingh Medical Journal 26(3): 551-557, 2017

Maternal and Child Health in Mongolia at 3 Years After Childbirth: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Descriptive Study. Maternal and Child Health Journal 20(5): 1072-1081, 2016

Beliefs and implementation of evidence-based practice among community health nurses: A cross-sectional descriptive study. Journal of Clinical Nursing 27(9-10): 2052-2061, 2018

Suicidal thoughts and behaviours among Australian adults: findings from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 43(7): 635-643, 2009

Assessment of mental health and psycho-social support pilot program's effect on intended stigmatizing behavior at the Saftawi Health Center, Gaza: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Mental Health 28(4): 436-442, 2019

Mental health inequalities among gay and bisexual men in England, Scotland and Wales: a large community-based cross-sectional survey. Journal of Public Health 39(3): 645, 2017

Mental health and the relationship between health promotion counseling and health outcomes in chronic conditions: cross-sectional population-based study. Canadian Family Physician Medecin de Famille Canadien 60(2): E113, 2014

Perceived Stigma of Sudden Bereavement as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempt: Analysis of British Cross-Sectional Survey Data on 3387 Young Bereaved Adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14(3):, 2017

School Counselors' Perspectives of a Web-Based Stepped Care Mental Health Service for Schools: Cross-Sectional Online Survey. Jmir Mental Health 4(4): E55, 2017

Utilization of community-based health planning and services compounds in the Kintampo North Municipality: a cross-sectional descriptive correlational study. Bmc Health Services Research 17(1): 679, 2017

A cross-sectional survey on gender-based violence and mental health among female urban refugees and asylum seekers in Kampala, Uganda. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics: the Official Organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 127(2): 138-143, 2014