Volume 10

College Students’ Perceptions of Change in Self-Destructive Behavior After Experiencing a Drunk-Driving Event

Meghan E. O'Brien and Julie M. Santaniello

Due to the frequency of alcohol related accidents, many college students are faced with the experience of dealing with the death of a close friend or an acquaintance in a drunk driving accident. This study investigated if people would change their risk-taking behaviors after experiencing a drunk driving event. Volunteers (n = 178) read one of six scenarios that varied the relationship (close friend, acquaintance) and outcome of a drunk driving event (safe, no injury, or death). Questionnaires were completed assessing the participants’ likeliness to drink and drive, reasons to drink, thrill levels, and desirability of social acceptance. Results showed that participants are more likely to drink and drive if the close friend or acquaintance died. Although these findings do not correspond with the direction of the proposed hypothesis, people do change their drinking and driving habits.

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