ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Psychosocial Development and Driving Behaviours: Some Results from the Australian Temperament Project

Harrison, Warren A., Harris, Anne, Cockfield, Samantha, McIntyre, Allison, Vassallo, Suzanne, Smart, Diana, Sanson, Ann (Peer reviewed)

Driver Psychology / Human Factors


A set of items concerning road safety and driving behaviour was included in the most recent, thirteenth survey wave of the Australian Temperament Project, a large, longitudinal community study of children s development and wellbeing from infancy to adulthood. Commencing in 1983, information has been collected from parents, teachers and the young people themselves on the children s social and school progress, personal adjustment, temperament style, relationships with others, attitudes, and beliefs, and aspects of the family environment. Responses obtained from 1,140 young people and 1,040 parents during the most recent survey included self and parent reports of young people s experiences as a learner driver, driving exposure, crash and offence experiences, and the frequency of some risky driving behaviours. A series of analyses indicated that it was possible to identify young drivers likely to engage in risky driving from data collected in mid-childhood (using teacher reports) and early adolescence (using parent and self reports). Young drivers with a tendency towards risky driving behaviours differed from others in measures of temperament (especially persistence), behaviour problems (especially aggression and hyperactivity), social competence, school adjustment, and the quality of relationships. This paper describes some key results of the study and discusses their implications.