Aviation Safety Locus of Control


This scale measures the internal and external orientation of pilots with respect to aviation safety issues. It is an adaptation of an Industrial Safety Locus of Control Scale.

An existing safety locus of control scale (Jones and Wuebker, 1985) was modified to place the items in an aviation context, and the items were administered to a sample of approximately 480 pilots. Internality and externality subscales were created, and construct validity was assessed by correlating these subscales with measures of resignation and involvement in hazardous aviation events. The subscales exhibited acceptable internal consistency, and were negatively correlated (r = -0.419, p < 0.001). Consistent with previous research, pilots exhibited substantially higher internality than externality. Correlation of the subscales with the measures of resignation and involvement in hazardous events supported the construct validity of the scale.

Number of Items: There are 20 items total: 10 items with an Internal orientation, and 10 items with an External orientation.


Subjects indicate their degree of agreement or disagreement with short phrases espousing an internal or external orientation. Response scale is a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from Strongly Agree (5) to Strongly Disagree (1).


Based on the factor analysis of the development sample, separate scoring of the Internal and External subscales is recommended. Scores for these subscales are the simple sum of the responses for the respective items. Maximum score for each subscale is therefore, 50 (10 items X 5 (strongly agree)).

Internal = q1 + q3 + q4 + q6 + q10 + q13 + q14 + q18 + q21 + q23

External = q2 + q5 + q7 + q12 + q15 + q17 + q19 + q20 + q22 + q24

Factor Composition:

Principal components analysis of the initial development sample was conducted. See Hunter (2002) for results.


Coefficient Alpha for the 10-item Internal and External subscales were, 0.69 and 0.63, respectively, based on a sample of 477 cases.

Construct Validity:

Hazardous Events Scale: The HES assesses the number of instances in which a pilot has been involved in an accident or in an event which could have easily become an accident, had circumstances been slightly different. For example, this scale includes items which assess the number of times the pilot has run low on fuel or inadvertently entered adverse weather conditions. The HES is proposed as a surrogate for the preferred external criterion of involvement in aircraft accidents because the low incidence of accidents makes the use of that criterion problematic.

Of the 477 pilots with Aviation Safety LOC scores, there were 176 who had also completed the HES. The mean score for the HES equals 2.99 (SD= 3.36). The
range of scores was 0 to 22. The correlations between the HES and the Internal and External subscale scores were –0.205 (p = 0.007) and 0.077 (non- significant), respectively.

Normative Information:

For a sample of N=477: Internal subscale (M = 38.8, SD= 4.34), External subscale (M = 17.2, SD = 3.79).


Hunter, D. R. (2002). Development of an aviation safety locus of control scale. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 73, 1184-1188.

Joseph, C., & Ganesh, A. (2006). Aviation safety locus of control in Indian aviators. Indian Journal of Aerospace Medicine, 50, 14-21.

Jones JW, Wuebker L. (1985). Development and validation of the safety
locus of control scale. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 61,151–161.

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