Date of Award

December 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Mark Dusenbury


The purpose of this study was to examine the interactions between music listening, stress, and performance among 268 air traffic controllers. The research questions included: (1) What is the relationship between air traffic controller perceived performance and music listening?; (2) What is the relationship between air traffic controller stress level and music listening?; (3) Should music listening be considered an ethical and/or effective solution to improve emotional and physiological outcomes among air traffic controllers? The results showed that as ratings increased for (1) agreement that participants listened to music while working, (2) time spent listening to music; (3) beliefs that music improved work performance, (4) beliefs that music should be allowed at work, (5) beliefs that the FAA and DOT have a responsibility to reduce stress; (6) preferred music listening frequency, and (7) experiencing stress during air traffic control increased, Music-Related Performance also significantly increased. While some participants felt that music should not be permissible while working live air traffic and in certain work environments, others felt that music reduced stress, improved morale, and enhanced coordination and focus in an air traffic control setting. Through these reported increases of performance as a direct result of music listening, these findings suggest that music may increase awareness to neurobiological processes. The results of this study show that oversight organizations for air traffic control may have an ethical responsibility to reduce stress-induced emotional and physical symptoms among employees.