A matter of style? Driver attributional 'style' in accounting for the driving of others as protective or as predisposing drivers towards retaliatory aggressive driving

Lennon, Alexia J. & Watson, Barry C. (2015) A matter of style? Driver attributional 'style' in accounting for the driving of others as protective or as predisposing drivers towards retaliatory aggressive driving. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 30, pp. 163-172.

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Driver cognitions about aggressive driving of others are potentially important to the development of evidence-based interventions. Previous research has suggested that perceptions that other drivers are intentionally aggressive may influence recipient driver anger and subsequent aggressive responses. Accordingly, recent research on aggressive driving has attempted to distinguish between intentional and unintentional motives in relation to problem driving behaviours. This study assessed driver cognitive responses to common potentially provocative hypothetical driving scenarios to explore the role of attributions in driver aggression. A convenience sample of 315 general drivers 16–64 yrs (M = 34) completed a survey measuring trait aggression (Aggression Questionnaire AQ), driving anger (Driving Anger Scale, DAS), and a proxy measure of aggressive driving behaviour (Australian Propensity for Angry Driving AusPADS). Purpose designed items asked for drivers’ ‘most likely’ thought in response to AusPADS scenarios. Response options were equivalent to causal attributions about the other driver. Patterns in endorsements of attribution responses to the scenarios suggested that drivers tended to adopt a particular perception of the driving of others regardless of the depicted circumstances: a driving attributional style. No gender or age differences were found for attributional style. Significant differences were detected between attributional styles for driving anger and endorsement of aggressive responses to driving situations. Drivers who attributed the on-road event to the other being an incompetent or dangerous driver had significantly higher driving anger scores and endorsed significantly more aggressive driving responses than those drivers who attributed other driver’s behaviour to mistakes. In contrast, drivers who gave others the ‘benefit of the doubt’ endorsed significantly less aggressive driving responses than either of these other two groups, suggesting that this style is protective.

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1 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 83015
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: aggressive driving, psycho-social factors, attributions, scenario-based
DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2015.03.001
ISSN: 1369-8478
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
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 2015 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, [VOL 30, (2015)] DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2015.03.001
Deposited On: 01 Apr 2015 02:12
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2017 12:51

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