Operators of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have various stressors such as cognitive demands and social demands. Dysfunctional metacognitions (i.e. higher negative metacognitive beliefs) may increase stress vulnerability, while factors such as hardiness and grit may increase resilience.
The study used a simulation of UAS operation, while stress was manipulation (increasing cognitive demand and negative evaluation feedback). Stress response was assessed using subjective self-report measures and psychophysiological sensors (i.e. EEG, ECG, and hemodynamic sensors).
The Anxious Thoughts Inventory (AnTI) was associated with increased state worry, and predicted stress reactivity (EEG and questionnaires) in the negative feedback condition. The mete-worry sub scale of the AnTI moderated the relationship between state worry and objective performance and psychophysiological measures.
Increased meta-worry may prevent adaptive effort associated with worry. The study supports the metacognitive theory of anxiety and negative emotions and the Trait-Stressor-Outcome framework for resilience.