The relative impact of work-related stress, life stress and driving environment stress on driving outcomes

Rowden, Peter J., Matthews, Gerald, Watson, Barry C., & Biggs, Herbert C. (2011) The relative impact of work-related stress, life stress and driving environment stress on driving outcomes. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 43(4), pp. 1332-1340.

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Previous research has shown the association between stress and crash involvement. The impact of stress on road safety may also be mediated by behaviours including cognitive lapses, errors, and intentional traffic violations. This study aimed to provide a further understanding of the impact that stress from different sources may have upon driving behaviour and road safety. It is asserted that both stress extraneous to the driving environment and stress directly elicited by driving must be considered part of a dynamic system that may have a negative impact on driving behaviours. Two hundred and forty-seven public sector employees from Queensland, Australia, completed self-report measures examining demographics, subjective work-related stress, daily hassles, and aspects of general mental health. Additionally, the Driver Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) and the Driver Stress Inventory (DSI) were administered. All participants drove for work purposes regularly, however the study did not specifically focus on full-time professional drivers. Confirmatory factor analysis of the predictor variables revealed three factors: DSI negative affect; DSI risk taking; and extraneous influences (daily hassles, work-related stress, and general mental health). Moderate intercorrelations were found between each of these factors confirming the ‘spillover’ effect. That is, driver stress is reciprocally related to stress in other domains including work and domestic life. Structural equation modelling (SEM) showed that the DSI negative affect factor influenced both lapses and errors, whereas the DSI risk-taking factor was the strongest influence on violations. The SEMs also confirmed that daily hassles extraneous to the driving environment may influence DBQ lapses and violations independently. Accordingly, interventions may be developed to increase driver awareness of the dangers of excessive emotional responses to both driving events and daily hassles (e.g. driving fast to ‘blow off steam’ after an argument). They may also train more effective strategies for self-regulation of emotion and coping when encountering stressful situations on the road.

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ID Code: 41260
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Elsevier First Online Publication
Keywords: Driver stress, Daily hassles, Work-related stress, Road safety, Driver behaviour
DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.02.004
ISSN: 0001-4575
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Elsevier.
Deposited On: 15 Apr 2011 00:08
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2011 11:53

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