All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Despina Stavrinos

Advisory Committee Members

Karlene K Ball

Edwin W Cook III

Rajesh K Kana

David C Knight

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2022

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Driving a motor vehicle is both a privilege and one of the primary activities of daily living for most persons in the U.S. and many persons abroad; however, motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) bring great costs both to individuals and society. Driver behavior is the critical factor in an estimated 94% of MVCs and aggressive driving is the cause of two-thirds of U.S. traffic fatalities. Certain populations are at an increased risk for MVCs including persons who are young (ages 15-24), persons who have developmental disabilities such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and persons who have a high propensity for driving-related anger. Prior research indicates that a person’s facility with Theory of Mind (ToM) may also be relevant within the driving environment. The present study is a secondary data analysis examining the relationships between ADHD symptomology, driving anger, and Theory of Mind (ToM) on driving behavior in teens and young adults. Data were collected from self-report surveys and performance in a driving simulator. ADHD symptomology was measured with an instrument that divided ADHD into four symptom scales: inattention/poor memory, hyperactivity/restlessness, impulsivity/emotional lability, and poor self-concept. The simulator route featured bothersome elements that were presumed to be able to induce driver frustration that could potentially lead to anger in those participants with a predisposition for anger. Specifically, numerous hazards approached the driver along the iv route and a car traveling in front of the driver braked repeatedly for no apparent reason. It was hypothesized that ADHD symptomology and ToM would predict driving anger and that ADHD symptomology, ToM, and driving anger would predict poor driving outcomes. This study found limited support for these hypotheses. Inattention/poor memory, hyperactivity/restlessness, impulsivity/emotional lability, and poor self-concept collectively predicted driving anger. Individually, however, only poor self-concept demonstrated significance. ADHD symptomology explained 24.10% or 36.84% of the variance in driving anger, depending on the ADHD metric used, but after controlling for ADHD total symptomology, adding ToM to the model did not increase explained variance in driving anger. Inattention/poor memory, hyperactivity/restlessness, impulsivity/emotional lability, and poor self-concept collectively predicted self-reported driving behavior, but individually only inattention/memory problems demonstrated significance. These four factors did not predict driving performance in either the car-following environment or the hazard environment. ToM and driving anger together predicted self-reported driving behavior, however, only driving anger demonstrated significance. ToM and driving anger did not predict driving performance in either the car-following environment or the hazard environment. It is speculated that the hypotheses were not supported due to insufficient sensitivity of the measurement instruments. Potential future lines of research are proffered.

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