Objective: The purpose of the current study was to assess the influence of personality traits on safety attitudes and risk perceptions. Background: The ability to accurately assess risk remains a focal point of aviation training. This research seeks to understand if safety attitudes serve as a mediator. Method: Using a sample of 2,857 pilots, a statistical model was created through two independent stages. In stage 1, approximately 50% of the data were used to create the model using structural equation modeling techniques, and in stage 2, the model was independently validated. Results: The findings indicated that personality factors positively influenced risk perception, whereas personality increased, so did the pilot's perception of the risk level. Self-confidence was negatively related to risk perceptions, indicating that a pilot's self-confidence increases their perception of risk decreases. Additionally, self-confidence was a significant mediator to the relationship between personality factors and risk perception. Conclusion: The original scales had some validity issues, but the re-specified model provided some meaningful findings, especially in the relationships between personality traits, self-confidence, and risk perception. The model explained 26.4% of the variance in self-confidence and 9.5% of risk perception variance. Application: The findings highlight the importance for pilots to be aware of how increased self-confidence may influence their perceptions of risk. As pilots gain experience and self-confidence, care needs to be given to ensure greater risks are not taken, offsetting the value of the experience and self-confidence.
The authors would like to thank the Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association's (AOPA) Air Safety Institute (ASI) for supporting this research project and assistance in data collection.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Winter, S. R., Keebler, J. R., Lamb, T. L., Simonson, R., Thomas, R., & Rice, S. (2021). The Influence of Personality, Safety Attitudes, and Risk Perception of Pilots: A Modeling and Mediation Perspective. International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.15394/ijaaa.2021.1594