Stress is closely associated with not only physical illness but also with indices of psychological maladjustment. However, such negative mental health outcomes may vary depending on the individual’s cognitive style, or perception of stress. Air force pilots are particularly vulnerable to experience a high degree of stress as they are required to conduct missions while simultaneously monitoring for safety in complex and uncertain flight situations. It can thus be posited that appropriate use of cognitive stress management strategies is one of the crucial competency requirements for pilots. As such, the present study examined the effects of stress on psychological symptoms of Korean Air Force pilots and further investigated the moderating role of cognitive flexibility in this relationship. A total of 192 air force pilots participated in the present study. The results indicated that degree of stress was positively correlated with indices of psychological maladjustment, while cognitive flexibility was negatively associated with psychological symptoms. Furthermore, cognitive flexibility demonstrated a significant moderating effect on the relationship between stress and psychological symptoms. Such results suggest that cognitive flexibility may serve as a protective factor in the potential effects of stress on psychological adjustment. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a grant of the Korean Mental Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HM15C1189).
© 2019, © 2019 Society for Military Psychology, Division 19 of the American Psychological Association.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)