Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Bryan E. Porter

Committee Member

James M. Henson

Committee Member

Elaine M. Justice

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh


In the U.S., motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for individuals 2 to 34 years of age (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2009c). Of particular interest are 18 to 25 year olds or emerging adults because of their increased crash risk. The prevalence of crashes attributable to the combination of driving inexperience and risky behaviors creates the necessity to identify predictors of crash likelihoods. While there are known personality variables that predict risky driving, time perspective as an additional one was suggested. Time perspective pertains to how the past, present, and future influence an individual's actions. Zimbardo, Keough, and Boyd (1997) investigated the relationship between time perspective and risky driving behavior as part of a larger health behavior study. The current research focused on replicating and extending their initial endeavor. Proposed improvements included expanding the risky driving outcome questionnaire from Zimbardo's five items to include scales more commonly used in the traffic research field (e.g., the Driver Behavior Questionnaire: Lajunen, Parker, & Summala, 2004; the Driving Anger Expression Inventory: Deffenbacher, Lynch, Getting, & Swaim, 2002). Second, the two separate present time perspective subscales of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI), which have not been used in clriving risk research, were employed to better reflect differing driving behaviors and characteristics associated with fatalism and hedonism (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). Third, the role of positive driving behaviors seemed important given its recent focus in the literature. Thus, both risky and positive driving behaviors were investigated (Özkan & Lajunen, 2005). Based on previous research, hypotheses were tested among the various time perspective orientations and risky and positive driving behaviors. The utility of time perspective as a predictor of driving behavior is discussed. In addition to studying the relationship between time perspective and driving behaviors, the influence of emerging adulthood were explored. Today many individuals are extending the time between adolescence and adulthood (Arnett, 2000). This intermediate stage where individuals are taking more time to explore their options before making long-term commitments was tested for its unique contribution toward predicting driving behavior. Specifically, it was hypothesized that those who score lower on the emerging adult factor would display more risky driving behaviors and fewer positive driving behaviors. Emerging adulthood was also tested in an overall model of risky driving which includes the time perspectives of interest and the control variables of sensation seeking and anger.


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