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Aerophobia Fear of Flying Research Paper Example

The Paper Outline

  • Introduction
    • Definition of aerophobia
    • Impacts of aerophobia
  • Limitation of Past research on aerophobia
    • Ignorance
    • Ineffective diagnosis of aerophobia
  • Conditions associated with fear of flying
    • Anxiety
    • Medical complications
  • Proposed Study
    • Aims of the research
    • Sociodemographic characteristics and procedure
    • Sample characteristics of the study
    • Achieving informed consent and assent
    • Assessment of independent variables
  • Conclusion

 PART I: Literature Review on Aerophobia

Fear of flying, otherwise referred to as aerophobia may be connected to numerous other unnecessary frightening issues. But sometimes it manifests as a single condition related to being flown. Such conditions of phobia may encompass claustrophobia or acrophobia, which imply a panic that grips individuals in enclosed places and a fear of high altitude common in flights, respectively. Aerophobia is estimated to take toll on about 25 percent of the public, although a full-scale condition of phobia is considerably less recorded across the world. Although, cancellations or delays of flights are ordinary cases in the airline industry, such developments can aggravate fear of flying in air passengers. This paper explores the distinctiveness between aerophobia and irrational fear; the diagnosis of the condition through various ways, the precise characteristics of aerophobia, its developmental stages and the therapeutic interventions that can be taken to mitigate the condition.

Baker (2010) suggests that whether or not an individual’s aerophobia condition evolved into a phobia, the repercussions can be devastating on the individuals’ social and economic movements. Nonetheless, the condition is more symptomatic than an illness, and different risk factors trigger it. It varies from one person to another. The fear is in the spotlight compared to other fears, because air journey is often unavoidable for people. Further, Aubry (2009) adds professionals cannot avoid the air means of transport due their everyday activities. They often grapple with the ordinary nature of the phobia, even as it defines human lifestyle in a significant percentage of the people (Hoffman, 2011). Because air travel is the fastest means of transport across the world, fear of flying, therefore, can hamper career development and hurt the general global economy. The proposed study information revolves around the problem of aerophobia and how to tackle it in victims. Further, the study looks into the effective ways of diagnosing aerophobia conditions, and suggesting effective measures which can be taken to solve the situation. As this paper offers the respondents free remedy, it is unlikely that the interviewee was previously ignorant that there is a potentially effective control of the condition (Baker, 2010).

Aerophobia Fear of Flying Research Paper Example

Limitations of Past Research on Symptoms of Aerophobia

The fear of flying manifests in ways comparable to those of other kinds of irrational fear, therefore, previous researches failed to effectively diagnose the problem (Aubry, 2009). Physical indications of the aerophobia may encompass trembling, sweating, gastrointestinal pain, and heart beats. Victims may become frustrated, unsettled, and exhibit incapability to reflect clearly. Further, such individuals may experience distress and irritability, and even pick quarrels with friends, kin, or airline crew members (Hoffman, 2011). Some individuals with an aerophobia are reasonably calm while at the airport’s waiting lounge, but begin trembling and experience other symptoms that come with the condition shortly before embarking on the aircraft. Others experience anxiety that begins immediately they enter the airport. A condition in which an individual starts experiencing the aerophobia several hours or days before a planned air travel, otherwise referred to as anticipatory anxiety is highly common in people (Allen, 2010). The analysis of aerophobia symptoms allow better means of handling the victims by airline companies and improve the safety and efficiency of the flights by implementing more effective preparation strategies for crew members.

Significance of the Conditions Associated with Fear of Flying

Aerophobia may come as a result of or aggravated by certain other anxieties in an individual (Allen, 2010). Individuals with claustrophobia usually undergo aerophobia because of the confined places and lack of space for normal movement (Baker, 2010). Those that fear socializing or dirt usually develop aerophobia conditions, because flights technically force a passenger to spend prolonged hours with people who they are not familiar with. Moreover, Hoffman (2011) suggests some conditions of physical impairment can occasion anxiety to air travel. Many passengers experience twinge or giddiness while on the plane due to problems in the sinus or difficulty hearing

For individuals who suffering from cold, persistent sinus problems, or problems such as dizziness or ear problems, aerophobia may be founded on a very true fear of experiencing physical discomfort during and or after the flight. If one has an illness related to the cardiovascular section the body or other illnesses that may aggravate the risk of hemorrhage or blood clots, then the fear may be driven by concerns about experiencing cardiac problems during an air travel (Hoffman, 2011). It is advisable that people who have known medical conditions, which may be aggravated by a flight, should discuss with their physician how best they can handle themselves prior to their flight. Such sessions often help with the taking of precautionary measures to reduce the risk and uneasiness during or after the flight (Allen, 2010).

Importance of Understanding the Causes of Aerophobia

According to Aubry (2009), aerophobia conditions that are not triggered by medical conditions or other anxieties may come as a result of different factors. According to Allen (2010), individuals who have ever undergone a distressing air travel or air crash, fear of flight may be experienced. Additionally, watching constant and disturbing news reporting of plane crash disasters can trigger aerophobia. For example, more people in the United States developed some level of trepidation of opting for air travel after the September 11 disaster at world trade center (Baker, 2010). If an individual’s parents experienced fear of flying, he or she may suffer from the condition following hereditary trepidation. This is essentially a common genesis of fear of flying in children, but also takes toll on many mature people. One might borrow the aerophobia from another kin or relation, but parents appear to have the leading influence on their offspring phobias.

Aerophobia conditions can also be traced to a completely different argument. For instance, aerophobia that comes up in individuals who have just been elevated on their job that demands constant air travel may be traced to anxieties about the occupation itself or the manner in which it is likely to alter that person’s activities (Hoffman, 2011). Similarly, children who have only air travel as the only means through which they can frequently make visits to parents living far apart or divorced sometimes develop fear of flying as a survival mechanism for the strain of the separation (Hoffman, 2011).

Significance of Understanding the Fear of Flying

Aerophobia is relatively simple to overcome, even without identifying the basic cause. If an individual does not experience other emotional or physical conditions, he or she should register for a training session on how to overcome aerophobia in them. These lessons essentially last 48 -72 hours, and are usually carried out during weekends. Hoffman (2011) indicates these lessons encompass cognitive-behavioral treatment to overcome the condition in several people at the same time. Hypnotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy targeted at the participants on individual basis, and more modern virtual reality methods are also appropriate remedies for mild aerophobia (Vanden & De Raedt, 2008).

PART II: Proposed Study – Research Methodology

The Aim of the Research

The main aim of this section of the paper is to carry out a research based on observation of the participant’s behavior, implementation of treatment, and the observation of behavior exhibited after the treatment. This research will involve a single-case experiment ABA, in which “A” stands for observe behavior, “B” for implement treatment, and “A” for observation of behavior after the therapy being implemented through the study. Respondent “A” will be sampled from my associates through a hand-picking process, implying that they will be known to the researcher already, before his treatment session. I will personally seek the views of my close associates through integrated assessment initiatives for a period of one month. The assessment will be carried out three times a month to settle on one of the best participants.

Sociodemographic Characteristics and Procedure

The respondent shall attend a meeting on one occasion, primarily to avail the general facts of the conditions, so as to successfully clarify the facts surrounding it and help with charting an effective solution to the problem (Aubry, 2009). This shall be done through slow process, by exploring all the factors surrounding this issue. The reality of the respondent’s acquaintance to the researcher already may have improved trust between the two parties (Baker, 2010). Trust is an important aspect to the development of the process and for any treatment session. Nonetheless, in this particular meeting, the respondent will be more aware of the intricate nature of the situation.

The researcher believes faster pace might trigger more nervousness (Hoffman, 2011). Generally, anxiety is an impediment to such sessions as this condition erodes the respondent’s courage in taking part. After picking the right respondent, I intend to cultivate a relaxed environment that will lead to the participant “A” opening up on his reminiscences of the first time he actually experience anxiety on air travel, remembering the episode as deeply as possible. In intend to incorporate the services of a research assistant, who will ease the workload by taking notes and helping me with the evaluation of the outcomes. Both the research assistant and the participant will be entitled to compensation to avoid compromised outcomes of the study. The research assistant will earn US$1,500 per month, while the participant will be entitled to US$100 each time we will be having an encounter. An exemption from full review is an IRB review mechanism that will be used. The participant has a normal mental condition; he does not suffer from any psychological problem, apart from aerophobia.

Sample Characteristics of the Study

The sample characteristics of the study encompass one participant from a team of executive workers in a company, who has adopted the fear of flying syndrome. This study will involve the use single-case experiment ABA. This study will seek dispel the fear in a middle aged man who, despite the regular use of air travel in this contemporary society for business, holiday, and visiting relations continue to endure significant detriment to their own social activities and individual wellbeing. The male participant in Caucasian aged 35. He is married, and is a father of three. The participant is a degree holder and earns a monthly salary of US$2,000.  Although, the participant’s aerophobia condition is serious, he has demonstrated keen willingness to rise above the fear.

Achieving Informed Consent and Assent

In most studies, the investigator is obliged to win informed consent from each theme or the participant’s legally official representative. In this study, the consent of the participant’s supervisor will be sought, failure to which the initiative may not be a success. As a researcher, I shall ask for such consent, by tabling the prospective subject, which is evaluating aerophobia. This will also enable the representative adequate opportunity to contemplate participating in the exercise, hence limiting the likelihood of compulsion or undue pressure (Vanden & De Raedt, 2008). I intend to ensure that the participant is given the right information regarding aerophobia is delivered in language comprehensible by the participant. In cases where full revelation of the rationale of the study might bias the results, such as the impact of the condition on limited air travel of the participant, will not be divulged to the supervisor.

The researcher will guide the respondent on air travel and the touching down process of a plane, while maintaining the sense of relaxation. The two parties will then pick a conversation for sometime about the victim’s experience (Hoffman, 2011). The researcher is likely to notice a benign ecstasy in his face and response as this success is acknowledged, although in thoughts, at confronting this panic. As the one hour session will be nearing the end, the researcher will recommend one more issue (Aubry, 2009). The researcher will briefly tell the respondent what he intends to: the antidote to his aerophobia condition; though until it will start rolling out, the respondent’s reaction might not be predicted. The main aim of the careful explanation of the likely events will likely enable the respondent have a feeling of absolute calmness as the session winds up and to recall the accounts with some ecstasy (Vanden & De Raedt, 2008).

Assessment of the Independent Variable

After the treatment, the respondent’s capacity to cope with air travel will be assessed in terms of the number of air travel trips he will be making after the treatment, and how long the flights will be taking. Independent variable will be evaluated by enquiring from the participant about his confidence in taking flights: positive outcomes will be declared if he demonstrates high spirits flying. Generally, in an individual suspects he or she has a phobia, they should begin by discussing it with a medical expert who can suggest a therapist. Once in a therapy session, the victim will likely be helped out through exposure therapy, although additional medications may be prescribed. Exposure therapy involves a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy encompassing overcoming aerophobia through the acquisition of new knowledge (Hoffman, 2011; Vanden & De Raedt, 2008).


Generally, aerophobia is a serious challenge that can be eliminated by effective therapies for the victims. Although, coaching sessions rarely take place, the successes of such sessions have been documented and are pinned on correct timing and presentation of the issues that matter most. The slow release of uneasiness meant that the respondent needed psychological and body relaxation before and after the session (Baker, 2010). Emotionally, the diffusion of extreme anxiety prepares individuals psychologically for such session and how to handle him after the session.

  • Allen, J. (2010). Fear of flying. Therapy Today, 21(3), 47.
  • Aubry, T. (2009). Erica Jong’s Textual Bulimia: Fear of Flying and the Politics of Middlebrow Consumption. Journal of Popular Culture, 42(3), 419-441.
  • Baker, J. (2010). Fear of flying. Rural Society, 20(1), 21-34.
  • Hoffman, J. (2011). Fly the Friendly Skies. Angels on Earth, 16(2), 16-18.
  • Vanden, B.A., & De Raedt, R. (2008). Cognitive vulnerability in fear of flying: the role of anxiety sensitivity. Depression & Anxiety, 25 (9), 768-773.

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