Principal Occupational Psychologist, Symbiotic Performance Solutions
Karen is working with Symbiotics as our Principal Occupational Psychologist. She has previously been responsible for the development of psychology services within a number of sectors, particularly assessment processes for all levels of recruiting and internal promotion, from graduates to board level positions.
As a holder of the BPS certificate Specialist in Test Use: Occupational, Karen has a strong interest in the appropriate application of psychometrics in assessment and development and has explored the use of a variety of measures in various situations. Collaborating with an international test publisher, Karen was instrumental in creating the first International Conference on Emotional Intelligence, held in London in 2007 and subsequently around the world. Karen is currently serving as Chief Supervisor for the BPS Qualification in Occupational Psychology (Stage 2) – the profession’s route to Chartership.
Monitoring Mental Health
Aircrew perform a role that demands maintenance of operational effectiveness in a situation of steady routine that always carries the potential of high-pressure immediate incidents. A number of establihed assessment systems predict the capability and capacity of individuals to carry out this task, through assessing the personality traits that are recognised as predictive of the required behaviours, but mental health is a state that can fluctuate on a daily or even hour-by-hour basis.
Proposal to address mental health risk by assessing psychological traits at key career points – recruitment, employer change or command upgrade – will not achieve the objective of identifying crew who are at risk of breakdown episodes. And what about the other teams – the cabin attendants, engineers, baggage handlers etc? The potential outcomes of an action from a member of one of these populations putting an aircraft at risk are no less significant than the actions of the flight crew.
Using data from our extensive database, we will consider two key areas – what personality traits to assess for, to give the greatest resilience to the various stresses put on workers in the aviation sector; and how mental health can be effectively and economically measured to best support them with the pressure they will encounter.