A further exploration of sensation seeking propensity, reward sensitivity, depression, anxiety, and the risky behaviour of young novice drivers in a structural equation model.

Research paper by Bridie B Scott-Parker, Barry B Watson, Mark J MJ King, Melissa K MK Hyde

Indexed on: 10 Jul '12Published on: 10 Jul '12Published in: Accident Analysis & Prevention


Young novice drivers constitute a major public health concern due to the number of crashes in which they are involved, and the resultant injuries and fatalities. Previous research suggests psychological traits (reward sensitivity, sensation seeking propensity), and psychological states (anxiety, depression) influence their risky behaviour. The relationships between gender, anxiety, depression, reward sensitivity, sensation seeking propensity and risky driving are explored. Participants (390 intermediate drivers, 17-25 years) completed two online surveys at a six month interval. Surveys comprised sociodemographics, Brief Sensation Seeking Scale, Kessler's Psychological Distress Scale, an abridged Sensitivity to Reward Questionnaire, and risky driving behaviour was measured by the Behaviour of Young Novice Drivers Scale. Structural equation modelling revealed anxiety, reward sensitivity and sensation seeking propensity predicted risky driving. Gender was a moderator, with only reward sensitivity predicting risky driving for males. Future interventions which consider the role of rewards, sensation seeking, and mental health may contribute to improved road safety for younger and older road users alike.