An etiological study was designed to investigate the onset and development of drinking and driving among adolescents who recently received their driver's license. A theoretical framework, derived from Problem Behavior Theory, was applied in order to identify environmental, personality and behavioral factors associated with drinking and driving. Among students who reported that they had driven a motor vehicle in the past three months (N=1416), 33 percent of the males and 22 percent of the females (who averaged 16.7 years) reported "drinking at least two drinks on a single occasion prior to driving" at least once in the previous three months. Personality factors (including perceived ability to drive after drinking, tolerance of drinking and driving, and lack of self-confidence in avoiding drinking and driving situations), perceived environmental factors (perceived car availability and friends modelling of drinking and driving) and behavioral factors (riding with a drinking driver and marijuana use) accounted for a large proportion (49%) of the variance in reported drinking and driving. It is recommended that school-based, peer-led educational programs be designed which target young adolescents prior to the age at which legal driver license is obtained. The programs should be broad-based and consider drinking and driving within the larger context of drinking and driving related behaviors and traffic safety in general.
- Drinking and driving behavior
- Problem behavior theory