The Relationships Among Personality, Stress, and Situation Awareness: The Effect of Situation Awareness Training
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Conventionally, the study of situation awareness (SA) has predominantly been confined to the field of aviation. However, SA has been recognized to be of vital importance in information-processing and decision-making in a variety of other occupations. The present study extends the work of previous authors by conducting research on the effect of personality and stress on the SA of workers in a high-intensity job other than aviation. This study developed emergent medical scenarios and the SA requirements for each scenario. Although, this SA measure demonstrated acceptable content validity, it failed to meet reliability requirements. Data regarding SA, stress (physiological and psychological), and personality were collected from nursing school students who were in the junior/senior year in their programs. A randomized experimental design was used to collect data and test the study hypotheses. In addition to participating in the medical scenarios, the participants were also provided with situation awareness training which aimed at improving their situation awareness, contingency planning, communication and teamwork skills, and stress management. Path analysis was used to test the relationships among personality, stress, and SA and the effect of the situation awareness training on these relationships. In accordance with previous research, the study demonstrated that psychological stress was positively associated with personality factors such as neuroticism. However, due to measurement problems with the SA scales and minimal reactivity of the physiological stress measures, no conclusions could be drawn regarding the relationship of SA with either personality or stress (physiological and psychological). Additionally, results also showed that the situation awareness training did not have the hypothesized effect on the stress-SA relationship. This calls into question the model of personality, stress, and SA proposed by the study. However, before the model, or any of its components, is discarded, further analyses should be performed using new or refined SA and stress instruments. Opportunities for future research are discussed in detail and ideas for the improvement of the study design are proposed.