REHABILITATING DRUNK DRIVERS: APPROACHES FROM PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH

Traditional approaches to the rehabilitation of persons convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) are reviewed, and some new approaches based on current research in experimental and social psychology are suggested. One type of rehabilitation concentrates on attitude change. Studies in social psychology have identified several factors that should be incorporated into this technique to insure maximal effectiveness. These factors include fear arousal, distraction, level of discrepancy, and counterattitudinal advocacy. Another promising approach comes from behavioral research. Recent studies in the treatment of alcoholics suggest that controlled drinking is a successful option in some cases if the behavioral technique of shaping is used to alter drinking patterns. Another method based on operant conditioning, contingency management, has been successful in maintaining increased levels of abstinence for other alcoholics. The need for individualized treatment is discussed. Ideally, a DWI rehabilitation program would assess all offenders and assign them to treatment accordingly. This method would differentiate between social and problem drinkers, as well as between drinkers who must remain abstinent and potential controlled drinkers. Following assessment, offenders would be assigned to appropriate programs for attitude change and/or behavioral training.

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00391818
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-037 223
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 30 1985 12:00AM