Driven by distraction: Investigating the effects of anxiety on driving performance using the Attentional Control Theory

Wong, Ides Y., Mahar, Douglas P., & Titchener, Kirsteen (2015) Driven by distraction: Investigating the effects of anxiety on driving performance using the Attentional Control Theory. Journal of Risk Research, 18(10), pp. 1293-1306.

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This study investigates the effects of trait anxiety on self-reported driving behaviours through its negative impacts on Central Executive functions. Following a self-report study that found trait anxiety to be significantly related to driving behaviours, the present study extended the predictions of Eysenck and Calvo’s Attentional Control Theory, proposing that anxiety affects driving behaviours, in particular driving lapses, through its impact across the Central Executive. Seventy-five Australian drivers participated in the study, completing the Parametric Go/No-Go and n-back tasks, as well as the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Driving Behaviour Questionnaire. While both trait anxiety and processing efficiency of the Central Executive was found to significantly predict driving lapses, trait anxiety remained a strong predictor of driving lapses after processing efficiency was controlled for. It is concluded that while processing efficiency of the central Executive is a key determinant of driving lapses, another Central Executive function that is closer to the driving lapses in the trait anxiety – driving lapses relationship may be needed. Suggestions regarding how to improve future trait anxiety – driving behaviours research are discussed.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
1 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 80032
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: anxiety, driving, Central Executive functions, Attentional Control Theory, processing efficiency
DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2014.919516
ISSN: 1366-9877
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Sensory Processes Perception and Performance (170112)
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 24 Feb 2015 00:26
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 17:01

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