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Promoting traffic safety among young male drivers - the role of mental elaboration
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Responsible organisation
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores the potential of mental elaboration as a means of decreasing risky driving among young male drivers. Around 600 young male drivers participated in the three studies. First, in order to clarify the mental background of risky driving behaviour and to construct a framework for interventions, speeding drivers were interviewed in-depth to explore mental representations of crashes and their consequences (Study I). In Study II, two interventions based on imagining personal consequences of causing a serious traffic crash were developed and tested experimentally. One was based on stimulating the participant himself to generate a crash scenario, while the other used a video in which a little girl was knocked down at a pedestrian crossing by a young male speeding driver as a stimulus for imagining. In Study 3, effects of simply responding to a questionnaire on personal risky driving behaviour were examined. Results indicate that young male drivers do not spontaneously think of serious negative personal consequences as a potential aftermath of crash involvement, but no long-term effects of the interventions tested could be demonstrated. Answering a questionnaire regarding driving behaviour resulted in a decrease in self-reported risky driving behaviour some five weeks later. This result was replicated three times and indicates that answering questions on personal risky driving behaviour may elicit an elaborative process in respondents' minds, leading to a more cautious driving style. The conclusion is that methods based on mental elaboration on personal driving behaviour may have a role to play in persuading young male drivers to adopt a safer driving style and should be explored further as a means of increasing traffic safety. An advantage is that such methods may elicit “self-persuasion”, which does not evoke reactance. Self-persuasion works by making people discover their own motivation for change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Psykologiska institutionen , 2008. , 83 p.
Keyword [en]
Young drivers, driving behaviour, social influence, persuasion, risk behaviour, intervention, speeding, test-retest effect, traffic safety
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8231ISBN: 978-91-7155-695-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-8231DiVA: diva2:199857
Public defence
2008-10-24, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-10-02 Created: 2008-09-25 Last updated: 2010-10-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Developing traffic safety interventions from conceptions of risks and accidents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing traffic safety interventions from conceptions of risks and accidents
2007 In: Transportation research part F, ISSN 1369-8478, Vol. 10, no 5, 414-427 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25500 (URN)000249071200004 ()
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8231Available from: 2008-10-02 Created: 2008-09-25Bibliographically approved
2. Promoting traffic safety among young male drivers by means of elaboration-based interventions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Promoting traffic safety among young male drivers by means of elaboration-based interventions
2009 (English)In: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, ISSN 1369-8478, E-ISSN 1873-5517, Vol. 12, no 1, 1-11 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research in social psychology has brought about significant changes in attitudes and behaviour by merely asking respondents to imagine, or reflect, on a phenomenon and arrive at their own conclusions. To test the potential of such interventions in the traffic safety area, an experiment comprising 353 young men 18–23 years old with a driver’s licence was conducted. Two experimental groups were induced to imagine a severe accident scenario and to visualize their feelings and the consequences on their future lives. A control group was interviewed about neutral issues. Attitudes towards risk-taking were measured post-intervention and at follow-up. The experimental groups showed more “ideal” attitudes than the control group post-intervention. At follow-up the attitudes of the experimental group remained unchanged, whereas the control group had changed towards more “ideal” attitudes. Self-reported risk-taking behaviour was measured pre-intervention and at follow-up. At follow-up all groups reported significantly less risk-taking behaviour than at pre-intervention. It is suggested that answering the questionnaires increased mental elaboration concerning risky driving, and it is concluded that interventions that unobtrusively make drivers reflect on their driving should be explored further as a means to promote traffic safety.

Keyword
Young drivers, Attitude change, Risk-taking, Interventions, Traffic safety
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25501 (URN)10.1016/j.trf.2008.06.001 (DOI)000262188600001 ()
Available from: 2008-10-02 Created: 2008-09-25 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
3. Measurement as persuasion?: Answering a questionnaire changes self-reported risky drivng behaviour
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Measurement as persuasion?: Answering a questionnaire changes self-reported risky drivng behaviour
Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25502 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8231Available from: 2008-10-02 Created: 2008-09-25Bibliographically approved

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