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Mathematics, Science and Technology

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The disclosure of a new or existing mental health condition in a pilot complicates their medical certification status. It has been proposed that the threat of losing medical certification often discourages pilots from seeking treatment for mental health issues or disclosing such information to aeromedical professionals, contributing to a barrier to seeking healthcare that affects pilots of all certification levels. The current study focused on the nondisclosure and healthcare-seeking behaviors of the collegiate pilot population(N = 2,452)at a large, accredited, private institution that offers flight training in accordance with Pilot Schools (2022). Data collected from our anonymous online survey over the course of 30 days found that 56.6% of a sub-sample (n = 232) of collegiate pilots met the criteria for some degree of depression, and 13.8% reported the prevalence of self-injurious or suicidal ideation within the past two weeks. Additionally, 67.7% of the sample (N = 256) expressed concern about seeking care for mental health issues because of potential effects on their medical certification, while 29.3% admitted to withholding mental health information from aeromedical professionals out of concern for their medical certification. The current study found that the same barrier to healthcare present in the airline pilot and military populations is also present in the collegiate pilot population. While previous research has focused on healthcare aversion and nondisclosure in airline, commercial, and military pilot populations, these findings focus on collegiate pilots, a population not accounted for in existing studies. Further studies are necessary to explore additional factors contributing to the pilot healthcare barrier and nondisclosure in aeromedical settings.

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The Collegiate Aviation Review International


University Aviation Association