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The effect of family climate on risky driving of young novices: The moderating role of attitude and locus of control

Accident Analysis & Prevention
DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2014.08.005
  • Family Climate
  • Parental Influence
  • Socio-Cognitive Factors
  • Risky Driving


Abstract The aim of the study was to examine the relative importance of young novice drivers’ family climate on their driving behavior. A sample of young novice drivers (N=171) between the age of 17 and 24, who held their permanent (or temporary) driver's license for no longer than one year, participated. The questionnaire included items related to the participants’ family climate, 3 socio-cognitive determinants (i.e., attitude, locus of control and social norm), and risky driving behaviors. We expected both family climate and the socio-cognitive determinants to exert a direct effect on risky driving. Furthermore we hypothesized that the socio-cognitive determinants would moderate the impact of family climate on risky driving. The results showed that the effect of family climate on risky driving only originated from one single factor (i.e., noncommitment). Besides that, the results confirmed the importance of the three socio-cognitive determinants to the degree that attitude, locus of control, and social norm significantly predicted the self-reported risky driving. In line of what we hypothesized, attitude moderated the relationship between noncommitment and risky driving. Lastly, we found an unexpected three-way interaction which indicated that locus of control moderated the relation between noncommitment and risky driving only when young drivers’ attitude was risk-supportive. We recommend scholars and practitioners to take into account the interaction between external sources of influence (such as an individual's family climate) and more personally oriented dispositions (such as an individual's attitude, social norm and locus of control) when trying to explain and change young novices’ risky driving.

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