The Effect of Affect Induction and Personal Variables on Young Drivers’ Willingness to Drive Recklessly

In an effort to increase understanding of risky driving among young drivers, with a special focus on the influence of affect, the study examined the contribution of the factors in the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), in addition to affect induction and personal variables (relevance of driving to self-esteem, sensation seeking), to the willingness of young drivers to take risks on the road. The sample consisted of 500 male and female drivers aged 18–22 (M = 18.94, SD = 0.77) who were randomly divided into four affect conditions: relaxed positive affect; aroused positive affect; negative affect; and neutral affect. The findings show a significant effect for emotional state and personal variables, beyond the effect of the TPB factors. As predicted, following relaxed positive affect induction, the participants expressed lower willingness for reckless driving than in the other three conditions, while the aroused positive and negative affect inductions were followed by a higher willingness for this behavior. In addition, high relevance of driving to self-esteem and a higher level of sensation seeking were associated with higher willingness to drive recklessly. The results point to the need for a multidimensional model that relates not only to the factors in the TPB model, but also to emotional state and personal variables. Moreover, they demonstrate the potential of employing relaxing positive affect to reduce young driver’s propensity for risky driving, as well as the harmful effects that may result from using negative affect. The study thus indicates that taking into account a range of emotional, personal, motivational, and cognitive factors may lead to the design of more effective safety messages.


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  • Accession Number: 01605110
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 19 2016 4:49PM