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Group behaviour of adolescent road users

Sentinella, J. and Elliott, M.A. (2004) Group behaviour of adolescent road users. In: 3rd International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology, 2004-09-05 - 2004-09-09.

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Abstract

This paper summarises three studies from a large research project conducted on behalf of Road Safety Division, Department for Transport, UK, which explored the effects of being in a group on the behaviour of adolescent road users (aged 11-16 years). The first study involved video observation of adolescents at specific locations when walking to and from school and was conducted to obtain data on how groups of adolescents behave, particularly when approaching and crossing the road. The effect of group size on a number of behavioural aspects were investigated, including choice of crossing location, the number of safety checks made when approaching the road and the mode of crossing (e.g. walking or running across). Differences between the behaviour of adolescents when in groups and when alone were identified. To provide more general information about adolescent road user behaviour and the effects of being in a group, a sencond (qualitative) study was conducted. Focus groups were conducted in which children were asked to discuss how they behave as road users when alone and when with different types of people (e.g. their friends, adults and siblings). Differences were found between how adolescents reported behaving when with the different types of people and adolescents were asked to discuss why this might be. Finally, a third, quantitative study was conducted in which 2,411 participants completed questionnaires asking about how often they engaged in a range of specific road using behaviours (1) when alone and (2) when with friends. 'Common risk' behaviour (e.g. 'inappropriate' road crossing) and 'extreme risk' behaviour (e.g. playing chicken with cars) were both investigated in the survey. The interacting effects of age and sex on reported behaviour were investigated. Full details of the findings across the three studies will be provided in the presentation.