ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Social and psychological predictors of young people?s involvement in fatal and serious injury crashes

Sheehan, Mary, Siskind, Victor, Greenslade, Jaimi

Young Drivers


The present paper reports preliminary findings from a longitudinal study of early adolescent drink driving and later involvement in fatal and hospitalised injury crashes. The study covers a period of over ten years and the predictive models and relevant variables and measures draw on the longitudinal studies of related behaviours by Farrington (1986), Bachman, Johnston and O?Malley(1978) and Jessor and Jessor (1977). The paper explores the extent to which selected social and psychological factors which drew on these studies were associated with drink driving and other at risk behaviours and ultimately could predict later involvement in serious traffic crashes.

Five thousand students were surveyed from 41 randomly selected Queensland state high schools at the end of the first semester in grade ten in 1988. The final sample involved 4545 respondents [90.9% response rate]. In 2000 there were 113 people from this sample who had Queensland Transport Department records of being involved in crashes, 80 males and 33 females. Measures included Social background, Religiosity, Parental modelling and control, Underage drinking, Underage driving, Drink driving, Delinquency and Crash involvement.

The strongest associations with heavier drinking were the familial variables of parental modelling of drink driving and access to parents? cars for underage driving. There were small but significant correlations between drink driving and delinquency and subsequent crash involvement. Drink driving and delinquency were jointly significantly predictive in a logistic regression on crash involvement. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.