Personality versus traffic accidents; meta-analysis of real and method effects

af Wåhlberg, Anders E., Barraclough, Peter, & Freeman, James (2017) Personality versus traffic accidents; meta-analysis of real and method effects. Transportation Research. Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 44, pp. 90-104.

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Problem: The association between personality and traffic accident involvement has been extensively researched, but the literature is difficult to summarize, because different personality instruments and statistics have been used, and effect sizes differ strongly between studies.

Method: A meta-analysis of studies which had used measures of personality which could be converted into Big Five dimensions, and traffic accidents as the dependent variable, was undertaken.

Analysis: Outlier values were identified and removed. Also, analyses on effects of common method variance, type of instrument, dissemination bias and restriction of variance were undertaken.

Results: Outlier problems exist in these data, which prohibit any certainty in the conclusions. Each of the 5 personality dimensions were predictors of accident involvement, but the effects were small (r<.1), which is much weaker than in a previous meta-analysis. Effect sizes were dependent upon variance in the accident variable, and the true (population) effects could therefore be larger than the present estimates, something which could be ascertained by new studies using high-risk samples over longer time periods. Newer studies and those using Big Five instruments tended to have smaller effects. No effects of common method variance could be found.

Conclusions: Tests of personality are weak predictors of traffic accident involvement, compared to other variables, such as previous accidents. Research into whether larger effects of personality can be found with methods other than self-reports is needed.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 98734
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: personality, accident, crash, common method variance
DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2016.10.009
ISSN: 1369-8478
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 2016 Elsevier B.V.
Deposited On: 14 Sep 2016 23:17
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2017 21:24

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