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Daytona Beach


School of Graduate Studies

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The mental health of airline pilots has been a concern for decades. In 2010, the United States Federal Aviation Administration began allowing four types of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to be used by pilots suffering from depression. After a procedural wait period, pilots may be awarded a special issuance of their medical certificates to maintain flight currency. Missing from the literature was any research on consumer’s perceptions of pilots taking antidepressants, along with some other approved medications. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine consumer’s willingness to fly once told that the pilot of their hypothetical flight was taking medication compared to a control group in which the pilot was not on any prescribed and approved medications. The current study also manipulated dosage levels and gathered affect data to determine if consumers’ responses were rationally or emotionally motivated. Across two studies, consumers were less willing to fly when the pilot was taking medication, and when the medication was a high dose opposed to a low dose. Additionally, affect was found to completely mediate the relationship between three of the four medications when compared to the control condition, suggesting that participants’ responses were emotionally driven. Finally, a discussion of the findings and practical implications of the study are provided.

Publication Title

Review of European Studies



Canadian Center of Science and Education

Additional Information

Dr. Winter was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.