Why do Indigenous Australians drink and drive? A qualitative exploration of self-reported influences on drink driving behaviours of Indigenous peoples from remote communities

Fitts, Michelle S., Palk, Gavan R., Lennon, Alexia J., & Clough, Alan R. (2013) Why do Indigenous Australians drink and drive? A qualitative exploration of self-reported influences on drink driving behaviours of Indigenous peoples from remote communities. In Proceedings of the 23rd Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conference, Montreal, Canada.


Drink driving contributes towards high injury rates for Indigenous populations in Canada and Australia, particularly in more isolated regions. At present there is limited research on the cultural and psychosocial factors that underpin Indigenous peoples’ drink driving. This study is part of a broader project aiming to inform a culturally sensitive program. Qualitative interviews with 29 convicted Indigenous drink drivers (aged 20-51 years) from a remote region of Queensland, Australia were used to explore their cognitions about, and underlying motivation for, drink driving as well as the factors that might facilitate or impede it. Although a number of themes were identified, this paper will focus on the first theme, respondents’ self-perceived rationale for their behaviour. Two subthemes were identified: ‘being the hero’ referred to situations where respondents were motivated by a bravado mentality to drive after drinking despite having, on some occasions, the opportunity to avoid this (e.g. another person offering to drive); and ‘family obligations’ which referred to situations where respondents described pressure from members of their extended families to drive after drinking. The underlying responsibility for transporting family members appeared to be difficult to avoid and related to cultural values. Findings indicate the social and individual characteristics for younger drink drivers are similar to mainstream populations. However, the reinforcers for Indigenous drink drivers may be different for this population, consistent with findings on other Indigenous populations outside Australia. Specific programs should contain a family-centred approach and explore the kinship value system to build strategies around these strong relationships.

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ID Code: 62563
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
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 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 16 Sep 2013 23:22
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2014 10:45

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