Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Mel Coleman

Committee Member

Ashley Russom


airline pilot health, chemical exposure, cockpit environment, environmental factors, pilot physical and mental health, radiation


The purpose of the systematic review of the literature was to compile and synthesize the research that had been conducted on the environmental factors that affect airline pilot health during their cockpit exposure. The purpose was also to compile research on the effects of these environmental factors. This study added onto the scarce body of research on airline pilots and the environmental factors that affect their health.

This research included published sources that were found through searching electronic databases such as ERIC, ProQuest Central, PubMed, Federal Aviation Administration, and Nova Google Scholar. The study used qualitative studies, along with government publications and reports, dissertations, and conference proceedings. In addition, scholarly journals, dissertations, and peer-reviewed articles were analyzed and synthesized. Inclusion criteria in this study included research in the area of airline pilots, environmental factors, cockpit environment, airline pilot health, pilots’ physical and mental health, chemical exposures to airline crew, radiation exposures to airline pilots and crew, occupational diseases in airline pilots, fatigue, and elevated cancer incidences among airline pilots. Exclusion criteria for this study were studies that included only military pilots and only flight attendants.

The systematic review of the literature compiled studies that subjects participated in, but this study did not directly include research participants. A systematic interpretive procedure was used to analyze the literature. A preliminary search indicated that there were no systematic reviews on the environmental factors that affected the physical and mental health of airline pilots. There was also little research that had been conducted inside the actual cockpit of commercial airlines and on the airline pilots in the cockpit setting.

Research findings indicated that the environmental effects of the cockpit that could affect pilot health were numerous and pilots were not made aware of many of these risks. The findings from this systematic review and metasynthesis suggested that, in order to optimize airline pilot health and performance, pilots must possess the knowledge regarding these environmental factors that affect the cockpit environment in which they spend hundreds of hours a year and learn the preventative measures that could be taken to minimize their risks.