Predicting DUI Recidivism

Personality, Attitudinal, and Behavioral Risk Factors

Published in: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, v. 82, no. 1, Mar. 15, 2006, p. 33-40

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Terry L. Schell, Kitty S. Chan, Andrew R. Morral

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AIMS: To predict DUI recidivism using personality, attitudinal, and behavioral factors. DESIGN: The authors conducted cross-sectional analyses of survey data. Covariance structure modeling was used to identify unique predictors of driving after drinking (DAD), alcohol consumption, and high-risk driving. PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred and eighty individuals with multiple DUI convictions, predominately male and Hispanic. Participants were surveyed in the Rio Hondo Courthouse, Los Angeles County, California. MEASUREMENTS: The survey included measures of past year frequency of DAD, socially desirable response bias, sensation seeking, trait hostility, high-risk driving style, alcohol expectancies, and alcohol consumption. FINDINGS: DAD was positively related with frequency of drinking and with positive alcohol expectancies. It was negatively associated with socially desirable response bias. Measures of high-risk driving and the personality variables were highly negatively associated with socially desirable response bias. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals who believe that they are affected positively by alcohol intoxication are not responding to the standard penalties for DUI and persist in driving after drinking. These beliefs may serve as an important point of intervention for programs designed to reduce drunk driving. The current research also suggests that self-report measures of DAD, as well as many hypothesized risk factors, are highly correlated with socially desirable response biases. Failure to control for such biases may be a significant threat to the validity of research in this field.

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