Associations between stress measured by the demands-control model, iso-strain model, and stress-related symptoms among cabin crew were studied.
A questionnaire about psychosocial work environment and symptoms was answered by 918 (82%) flight attendants, stewards, and pursers at one airline company in 2005. Adjustment was made for age, gender, smoking, job category, and flight length using multiple logistic regression.
Weekly headaches, concentration difficulties, fatigue, and gastrointestinal symptoms were reported at rates of 18%, 10%, 56%, and 13%, respectively. Pursers scored higher on control than the others and they had lower associations between the strain measured by the demands-control model and symptoms than stewards and flight attendants. All symptoms were more common in the high strain situation than in the low strain (reference). An active situation was related to an excess of symptoms. Low social support in the iso-strain model increased risk of symptoms.
Demands-control and iso-strain models are useful in studying stress-related symptoms in cabin crews. The dimension of social support adds explanatory value.