Angry Drivers: A Test of State-Trait Theory

This article reports on a study undertaken to test hypotheses from state-trait theory as they apply to anger while driving. The study compared college student drivers who were high in trait driving anger to drivers low in trait driving anger. High anger drivers were more frequently angered in day-to-day driving (frequency hypothesis). They reported more intense anger in their most angering driving situations, when visualizing provocative driving events, and in day-to-day driving (intensity hypothesis). Driving diaries and surveys showed that they engaged in more aggressive driving behavior and expressed their anger through more verbal, physical, and vehicular means (aggression hypothesis). They reported handling of their anger less well when visualizing provocative events and on the Adaptive/Constructive Expression scale (reduced adapative expression hypothesis). They engage in risky behavior and experienced more moving violations, close calls, and losses of concentration, but not more major or minor accidents (partial support for crash-related outcomes hypothesis). The authors conclude that their results support state-trait theory and demonstrate that high anger drivers have some additional psychological and behavioral characteristics that may interact negatively with their anger behind the wheel.

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  • Authors:
    • Deffenbacher, Jerry L
    • Richards, Tracy L
    • Filetti, Linda B
    • Lynch, Rebekah S
  • Publication Date: 2005-8


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01052093
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 28 2007 9:54AM