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An Investigation of Factors Related to Intoxicated Driving Behaviors among Youth
Valerie Johnson, Helene Raskin White
This study assessed the prevalence of driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana among a sample of 18 and 21 year olds and examined the across-time relationships between intoxicated driving and consumption, risk-taking\/impulsive orientation, negative intrapersonal state, stress and use of alcohol and other drugs to cope with problems. Self-report data were collected from 556 men and women, ages 18 and 21, at two points in time. The data indicated that at least a minimum level of drinking and driving, as well as smoking marijuana and driving, is engaged in at least once for the majority of youth. Correlations between eight driving behaviors and consumption variables indicated that frequency of substance use was strongly related to frequency of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Regression analyses revealed that coping use of substances was the strongest predictor of driving under the influence. A path model examining the effect of stress, negative states and risk-taking orientations (T1) on driving under the influence as mediated through coping use (T2) was tested. Results showed that risk-taking orientation was the strongest predictor of DWI, both directly and indirectly (as mediated through coping use). Findings suggest that impaired driving may be part of a global syndrome of risk-taking behavior and is an activity engaged in most often by those who frequently use alcohol and other drugs to cope with problems.