The Relevance of Emotional Intelligence in Personnel Selection for High Emotional Labor Jobs

Sarah Herpertz, Sophia Nizielski, Michael Hock, Astrid Schütz

4/28/2016

publications
Abstract
Although a large number of studies have pointed to the potential of emotional intelligence (EI) in the context of personnel selection, research in real-life selection contexts is still scarce. The aim of the present study was to examine whether EI would predict Assessment Center (AC) ratings of job-relevant competencies in a sample of applicants for the position of a flight attendant. Applicants’ ability to regulate emotions predicted performance in group exercises. However, there were inconsistent effects of applicants’ ability to understand emotions: Whereas the ability to understand emotions had a positive effect on performance in interview and role play, the effect on performance in group exercises was negative. We suppose that the effect depends on task type and conclude that tests of emotional abilities should be used judiciously in personnel selection procedures.

 

Meditative Movement - Peter Payne

Effectiveness of a Novel Qigong Meditative Movement Practice for Impaired Health in Flight Attendants Exposed to Second-Hand Cigarette Smoke

Peter Payne1*, Steven Fiering1, James C. Leiter2, David T. Zava3 and Mardi A. Crane-Godreau 1*

This single-arm non-randomized pilot study explores an intervention to improve the health of flight attendants (FA) exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke prior to the smoking ban on commercial airlines. This group exhibits an unusual pattern of long-term pulmonary dysfunction. We report on Phase I of a two-phase clinical trial; the second Phase will be a randomized controlled trial testing digital delivery of the intervention. Subjects were recruited in the Northeastern US; testing and intervention were administered in 4 major cities. The intervention involved 12 h of training in Meditative Movement practices. Based on recent research on the effects of nicotine on fear learning, and the influence of the autonomic nervous system on immune function, our hypothesis was that this training would improve autonomic function and thus benefit a range of health measures. Primary outcomes were the 6-min walk test and blood levels of C-reactive protein. Pulmonary, cardiovascular, autonomic, and affective measures were also taken. Fourteen participants completed the training and post-testing. There was a 53% decrease in high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (p ≤ 0.05), a 7% reduction in systolic blood pressure (p ≤ 0.05), a 13% increase in the 6-min walk test (p ≤ 0.005), and significant positive changes in several other outcomes. These results tend to confirm the hypothesized benefits of MM training for this population, and indicate that autonomic function may be important in the etiology and treatment of their symptoms. No adverse effects were reported. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov and is supported by a grant from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318411/pdf/fnhum-11-00067.pdf

Steward offers food and drinks to economy class passengers on the plane

Symptoms related to new flight attendant uniforms

Eileen McNeely, Steven J. Staffa, Irina Mordukhovich and Brent Coull

1/3/2018

publications
Abstract
Background:
Flight attendants at Alaska Airlines reported health symptoms after the introduction of new uniforms in 2011. The airline replaced the uniforms in 2014 without acknowledging harm. To understand possible uniform-related health effects, we analyzed self-reported health symptoms in crew who participated in the Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study between 2007 and 2015, the period before, during, and after the introduction of new uniforms.
Methods:
We calculated a standardized prevalence of respiratory, dermatological and allergic symptoms at baseline, as well as during and after uniform changes in 684 flight attendants with a varying number of surveys completed across each time point. We used Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) to model the association between symptoms at baseline versus the exposure period after adjusting for age, gender and smoking status and weighting respondents for the likelihood of attrition over the course of the study period.Results:
We found the following symptom prevalence (per 100) increased after the introduction of new uniforms: multiple chemical sensitivity (10 vs 5), itchy/irritated skin (25 vs 13), rash/hives (23 vs 13), itchy eyes (24 vs 14), blurred vision (14 vs 6), sinus congestion (28 vs 24), ear pain (15 vs 12), sore throat (9 vs 5), cough (17 vs 7), hoarseness/loss of voice (12 vs 3), and shortness of breath (8 vs 3). The odds of several symptoms significantly increased compared to baseline after adjusting for potential confounders.

Conclusions:
This study found a relationship between health complaints and the introduction of new uniforms in this longitudinal occupational cohort.

 

 

Cancer prevalence among flight attendants compared to the general population

Eileen McNeely, Irina Mordukhovich, Steven Staffa, Samuel Tideman, Sara Gale and Brent Coull

publications
Abstract
Background:
Flight attendants at Alaska Airlines reported health symptoms after the introduction of new uniforms in 2011. The airline replaced the uniforms in 2014 without acknowledging harm. To understand possible uniform-related health effects, we analyzed self-reported health symptoms in crew who participated in the Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study between 2007 and 2015, the period before, during, and after the introduction of new uniforms.
Methods:
We calculated a standardized prevalence of respiratory, dermatological and allergic symptoms at baseline, as well as during and after uniform changes in 684 flight attendants with a varying number of surveys completed across each time point. We used Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) to model the association between symptoms at baseline versus the exposure period after adjusting for age, gender and smoking status and weighting respondents for the likelihood of attrition over the course of the study period.

Results:
We found the following symptom prevalence (per 100) increased after the introduction of new uniforms: multiple chemical sensitivity (10 vs 5), itchy/irritated skin (25 vs 13), rash/hives (23 vs 13), itchy eyes (24 vs 14), blurred vision (14 vs 6), sinus congestion (28 vs 24), ear pain (15 vs 12), sore throat (9 vs 5), cough (17 vs 7), hoarseness/loss of voice (12 vs 3), and shortness of breath (8 vs 3). The odds of several symptoms significantly increased compared to baseline after adjusting for potential confounders.

Conclusions:
This study found a relationship between health complaints and the introduction of new uniforms in this longitudinal occupational cohort

 

Cancer incidence in California flight attendants (United States)

Peggy Reynolds, James Cone, Michael Layefsky, Debbie E. Goldberg, Susan Hurley

publications
Abstract
Objective:
To examine unusual exposure opportunities to flight crews from chemicals, cosmic radiation, and electric and magnetic fields.

Methods:
This project evaluated the incidence of cancers of the breast and other sites among Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) members residing in California. AFA membership files were matched to California’s statewide cancer registry to identify a total of 129 newly diagnosed invasive cancers among AFA members with California residential histories between 1988 and 1995.

Results:
Compared to the general population, female breast cancer incidence was over 30% higher than expected, and malignant melanoma incidence was roughly twice that expected. Both of these are cancers that are associated with higher socioeconomic status and have been suggestively associated with various sources of radiation.

Conclusions:
Consistent with the results from Nordic studies of cabin crews and a recent meta-analysis of prior studies, these data suggest that follow-up investigations should focus on the potential relative contribution of workplace exposures and lifestyle characteristics to the higher rates of disease for these two cancers.

 

Airliner wing

“Impact factors of ultra long range flights on cabin crew and passengers : “”pushing the plane– pushing the people”” : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Aviation, Massey University”

Haines, Michael John

Abstract: Long distance flight is an entrenched transportation mode that has brought with it a range of issues and impacts on the human cabin occupants. Development of ultra long range aircraft allows a single airline flight to last more than 16 hours in flight time which will have added impact on cabin crew and passengers.

This study was conducted to analyse the varied and diverse issues that ultra long range flights present in relation to the cabin and its occupants. Research included two surveys, one survey to international airlines from around the world and one survey to New Zealand based cabin crew who operate on international flights. Both surveys analysed current long range flight impacts and allowed respondents to identify new ultra long range flight issues.

The survey to organisations was responded to by seven airlines with three of the respondents currently operating ultra long range flights. The seven respondents rated operational issues as areas to be addressed including cabin crew issues related to duties, training and in-flight rest. Passenger related areas were mainly in relation to customer comfort.

The cabin crew survey had 119 respondents with a range of international cabin crew experience up to 36 years and averaging 5.7 long range flights per month. The respondents rated their cabin safety role as extremely important but did not believe their employers rated their safety role as highly. Respondents rated fatigue, sleep and dehydration as the main health impacts from long haul flights and 97.3% believed these health impacts will increase with ultra long range flight. In regard to rest and rest facilities 62% of respondents believed the current rest periods provided were inadequate and 70.7% believed the current rest facilities were inadequate. There was found to be a strong statistical relationship between rest adequacy and rest facilities adequacy. In relation to ultra long range flight respondents rated in-flight rest facilities as the foremost item to address for cabin crew and cabin air quality as the foremost item to address for passengers.

In general the survey of cabin crew identified the cabin environment, fatigue and lack of management emphasis on cabin crew as areas to be addressed for ultra long range flight. For passengers the cabin environment, facilities, and seating issues need addressing for ultra long range flight.

Further analysis based on the survey results found that ultra long range flight research has focussed on aircraft performance, engine reliability and the impacts of extended flight time on flight crew. Study on the impact of ultra long range flight on cabin crew and passengers are limited and lack the depth of research given to flight crew.

This study has identified that aircraft manufacturers and airline operators need to research and address a range of issues related to the cabin, in particular impacts related to cabin crew and passengers. Aviation regulators need to address many areas to improve regulations related to cabin crew and passenger health and safety. These areas need to be researched and addressed to ensure the impacts of ultra long range flight are reduced.

Dr. Mardi Crane-Godreau

Digital Delivery of Meditative Movement Training Improved Health of Cigarette-Smoke-Exposed Subjects

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2018.00282/full

Download the Article – PDF

Many FA who flew prior to the ban on smoking in commercial aircraft exhibit an unusual pattern of long-term pulmonary dysfunction. This randomized controlled study tested the hypothesis that digitally delivered meditative movement (MM) training improves chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-related symptoms in flight attendants (FA) who were exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke (SHCS) while flying. Phase I of this two-phase clinical trial was a single-arm non-randomized pilot study that developed and tested methods for MM intervention; we now report on Phase II, a randomized controlled trial comparing MM to a control group of similar FA receiving health education (HE) videos. Primary outcomes were the 6-min walk test and blood levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). Pulmonary, cardiovascular, autonomic and affective measures were also taken. There were significant improvements in the 6-min walk test, the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) score, and the COPD Assessment Test. Non-significant trends were observed for increased dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) levels, decreased anxiety scores and reduced blood hs-CRP levels, and increased peak expiratory flow (PEF). In a Survey Monkey questionnaire, 81% of participants who completed pre and post-testing expressed mild to strong positive opinions of the study contents, delivery, or impact, while 16% expressed mild negative opinions. Over the course of the year including the study, participant adoption of the MM practices showed a significant and moderately large correlation with overall health improvement; Pearson’s R = 0.62, p < 0.005. These results support the hypothesized benefits of video-based MM training for this population. No adverse effects were reported.

Alarm clock on bed in morning with sun light

Flight Attendant Rest Times Increased!

After over 20 years of research and advocacy, U.S. flight attendants have been successful in raising their minimum rest times between shifts to from 8 to 10 hours. This occurred due to the passing of the FAA re-authorization bill in October of 2018. This is a substantial increase over the earlier 8-hour minimum rest time, which does not include deplaning, boarding passengers, or traveling to and from the airport. It only includes time between landing and the next take-off, so an 8-hour minimum rest time could easily result in getting just a few hours of actual rest or sleep between flights.

In contrast, a 10-hour mandatory rest period is the same as that guaranteed to pilots, and rightfully recognizes flight attendants’ crucial role in protecting the safety and security of passengers. It also a great development given research into cabin crew fatigue, Circadian rhythm disruption, sleep disorders, and associated health effects, such as depression or possibly even cancer and cardiovascular disease. The Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study has reported that U.S. flight attendants have higher rates of fatigue, diagnosed sleep disorders, and depression relative to employed people in the U.S. general population, despite being healthier overall in terms of weight, smoking, blood pressure, and other factors related to overall health and healthy lifestyle choices.

See our publications: The self-reported health of U.S. flight attendants compared to the general population

and Estimating the health consequences of flight attendant work: comparing flight attendant health to the general population in a cross-sectional study

Flight - airline passenger seat with flight attendant in the background

Could My Flight Attendant Uniform Be Associated With My Wellbeing?

Alaska Airline flight attendants reported health complaints related to new uniforms rolled out in 2011 (1). By 2014, approximately 800 flight attendants had complained about how the new uniforms were negatively impacting their health, which led to Alaska Airlines recalling the uniforms, though without acknowledging harm. These flight attendants had reported a wide range of sometimes debilitating symptoms, including dry and itchy eyes, eye pain, blurred vision, sinus congestion and pain, ear pain, ear drum rupture, ear infections, nosebleeds, persistent runny nose and sore throat, ringing ears, cough, hoarseness/loss of voice, wheezing, lung infection symptoms, asthma symptoms, bronchitis symptoms, shortness of breath, multiple chemical sensitivity symptoms, itchy/irritated skin, and rashes/hives (2). The research recently published by Dr. McNeely and colleagues suggests these health symptoms could be associated with the uniforms, based on data from before, during, and after use of the uniforms among Alaska Airlines flight attendants.

In 2016, American Airlines flight attendants started to complain about health symptoms after switching to uniforms manufactured by the same company that produced the 2011 Alaska Airline uniforms.

Dr. Mordukhovich, one of the study’s authors, suggests the next step to solve this mystery is to conduct rigorous and comprehensive testing of uniforms, which is currently taking place through the Harvard School of Public Health.

 

1. Air Safety, Health and Security Department. Air Safety, Health and security department. 2017. http://ashsd.afacwa.org/?zone=%2Funionactive%2Fview_article.cfm&HomeID=160011. Accessed May 2018.
2. McNeely, et. al. Symptoms Related to New Flight attendant Uniforms. BMC Public Health (2017). Accessed May 2018

US Flight Crew Have Higher Cancer Rates Compared to the General Population

American flight attendants have a higher prevalence of several forms of cancer, including breast, uterine, gastrointestinal, thyroid, and cervical cancers, when compared with the general public, according to new research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.