The impacts of critical incidents on crew members are mitigated by a variety of factors. This section describes and analyses the effect of this factors. It is important to understand how they affect reactions to critical incidents in order to develop effective trauma prevention measures.

A specific element can act as a protective or risk factor depending on how it is experienced in the situation. The following description distinguishes the effects of protective and risk factors. These factors can also act directly and indirectly through the presence of others on the level of symptoms other employees have.