Advisory Committee Chair
Advisory Committee Members
Date of Award
Degree Name by School
Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences
Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) continue to claim the lives of many teen drivers each year in the United States despite significant prevention efforts, and the primary contributor to these MVCs is driver behavior. Previous research suggests practice driving in diverse environments during the pre-licensure phase is related to better driving outcomes post-licensure, including a reduced risk of MVCs, especially in the first year of independent driving when teens are at a higher crash risk. The pre-licensure and initial licensure phase typically co-occurs with rapid executive function (EF) development, which may be important for successfully managing the driving task. However, the longitudinal influence of pre-licensure practice diversity on driver self-regulation directly following licensure or the role of EF in this relationship has been largely understudied among adolescents. This study was among the first to examine the relationship between learner phase driver practice and EF on teen driver self-regulation. Two specific aims were proposed. First, the impact of pre-licensure practice diversity on teen driver self-regulation over the first 6 months of independent licensure was examined. It was hypothesized that a) ) there would be a decrease in driving self-regulation over the first six months of licensure and b) teens reporting more pre-licensure practice diversity would report a greater decrease in driving self-regulation behaviors over the first six months of licensure. Second, the underlying role of executive function in the relationship of pre- iv licensure practice diversity on driving self-regulation over the first six months of independent licensure was examined. It was hypothesized that teens It was hypothesized that a) teens reporting more pre-licensure practice diversity and poorer executive function would report a faster decrease in self-regulation over the first six months of licensure. Fifty-eight licensed 16-year-olds completed measures of pre-licensure practice diversity, EF, and driver self-regulation at three timepoints (baseline and every three months) as part of a larger longitudinal study. Multi-level models examined the impact of pre-licensure practice diversity and EF on driver self-regulation over the first six months of licensure. Results indicated that driver self-regulation decreased over the first six months of licensure. Practice in complex environments was associated with less self-regulation at licensure baseline. A direct relationship between practice in night and bad weather conditions and post-licensure regulation of driving in those environments emerged suggesting more practice in night and bad weather conditions during the pre-licensure phase predicted less regulation in each context upon independent licensure. EF did not emerge as a moderator of this relationship. Findings suggest that some types of practice (i.e., driving in complex scenarios) may better prepare teens for independent driving. Pre-licensure practice and driving exposure may more strongly influence post-licensure driver self-regulation than EF. These findings may inform teen driver interventions by advancing the understanding of the contributions of pre-licensure practice diversity on teen driver self-regulation in the first months of licensure.
Albright, Melanie Grace, "Trajectories of Teen Driver Self-Regulation: Role of Learner Phase Practice and Executive Function" (2020). All ETDs from UAB. 645.