Relationships of Type a Behavior with Biographical Characteristics and Training Performance of Air Traffic Control Specialists
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Relationships of Type a Behavior with Biographical Characteristics and Training Performance of Air Traffic Control Specialists

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      While there has been a considerable amount of research concerning the relationships between various cognitive measures and the selection and subsequent performance of Air Traffic Control Specialists (ATCSs), data concerning the potential importance of personality factors are quite limited. As part of an expanded research program, selected personality measures and biographical questionnaires have been administered to ATCSs at the time of their entry into the FAA Academy Nonradar Screen Program. A considerable body of research surrounds the Jenkins Activity Survey JAS) as a measure of Type A behavior, coronary proneness, and other health problems.

      More recently, a revised JAS scoring procedure has been developed for Achievement Striving (AS) and Impatience Irritability (II) scales; those scales have been significantly and differentially related to job performance, academic achievement, job satisfaction, and negative affect (e.g., depression). The JAS and a biographical questionnaire were administered to 474 ATCS students at the beginning of the nine week screening program. Scores on the traditional JAS, AS, and II scales were compared with measures of FAA Academy performance, and attitudinal and biographical data. Analyses of the JAS questions confirmed the presence of the AS and II factors.

      In contrast to previous research, which documented a positive relationship between AS and academic achievement in college, correlations between AS and Academy achievement were non significant. It may be that in less academic settings, achievement striving is a relatively less important predictor of training success compared to specialized cognitive abilities. The AS scores were significantly correlated with self reported expectations of job performance and satisfaction. II scores were related to a number of life style behaviors, including alcohol consumption.

      Results provide further evidence in support of the existence of the AS and II dimensions of the JAS. Concurrent validity of the two components with the criterion measures was partially supported in the present setting. Given the historical use of the JAS and current support for the existence of the new scales, longitudinal studies could examine the effectiveness of the JAS in predicting both the long term job success of air traffic controllers and prospective health related problems that might arise.

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