Driving anger: the role of personality attributes, emotional intelligence, gender and age

Esterhuyse, Melissa (2017-03)

Thesis (MCom)-- Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : It is stated that, in South Africa, 90% of accidents can be blamed on human error (Venter, 2010). Furthermore, the same study shows that only between 3% and 5% of traffic accidents could be blamed on the environment in which the individual is travelling, and another small percentage of accidents can be attributed to flaws of the vehicle. Driving anger can be defined as the propensity to become angry while driving, an individual characteristic unique to every driver (Deffenbacher, Deffenbacher, Lynch & Richards, 2003). Research shows that high driving anger is related to risky driving behaviours, such as fast driving, reckless manoeuvers and violations of traffic laws (Sarbescu, Costea & Rusu, 2012; Villieux & Delhomme, 2010). The study of driving anger includes the way an individual experiences or deals with anger. Hence, driving anger is assumed to form part of internal factors (driver characteristics) impacting a larger, more complex system. This complex system consists of external and internal factors working together that consequently influence each other and traffic safety (i.e. traffic outcomes and consequences). The main objective of this study was to develop a structural model, based on the current literature, which explains the antecedents of driving anger, and to empirically test this structural model. The antecedents comprise personality attributes (agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness to experience and extraversion), emotional intelligence, gender and age, and the impact that these factors have on driving anger. An ex post facto correlational design was used to test the hypotheses formulated specifically for the purpose of the current research study. Convenience sampling (as well as elements of stratified random sampling) was used to select a sample. Quantitative data was collected from a total of 199 drivers; 50 professional and 149 non-professional drivers. An online electronic survey was distributed to Pepkor and Lube Marketing employees, amongst others using social media and networking strategies. The following measurement instruments were used: (1) the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) (Dahlen & White, 2006), (2) the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (SEIS) (Davies, Lane, Devonport & Scott, 2010), and (3) the Driving Anger Scale (DAS) (Deffenbacher, Oetting & Lynch, 1994). Gender and age were measured via biographical questions asked in the survey. Item analysis, partial least squares (PLS) and multiple regression analysis were conducted to analyse the data that was collected and also to report on the nature of the paths. From the 18 hypotheses formulated in the study, one was found to be statistically significant, namely, the relationship between neuroticism and driving anger. This implies that those high in neuroticism are most likely to experience driving anger. It is important to note that, of the statistically insignificant paths, 12 were related to moderating effects. These statistically insignificant results could be due to many reasons and is discussed in the study. The study has shed some light on the understanding of driving anger and its antecedents as related to professional and non-professional drivers. Based on the results reported, possible interventions for industrial psychologists and managers were suggested to foster a safe driving culture. Furthermore, the limitations of the study and recommendations for future research were discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Geen opsomming beskikbaar.

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