M. Masini, M. Passarelli, C. Chiorri, F. Bracco, T.F. Piccinno
Locus of Control (LoC) is the extent to which individuals believe they can control events in their lives. Individuals with high ‘internal’ LoC think that they can control the situation; individuals with high ‘external’ LoC feel the opposite. LoC has been used to predict drivers’ behavior, but results are inconsistent: in some studies internal LoC is associated to safe driving behavior; in others to high rate of accidents; in others no relationship is found. We hypothesized that these findings reflect two different dimensions of internal LoC: (i) internal LoC makes people feel more responsible of their actions, so they are more cautious, and (ii) internal LoC makes people feel totally in control, so they push the boundaries. In this study we developed a new measure, the Driving Locus of Control Scale (DLOC), that differentiates two dimensions of internal LoC: overconfident and cautious. The DLOC was validated through exploratory (Sample 1: N = 187, 56% female, age 37 ±15) and confirmatory (Sample 2: N=325, 27% female, age 19 ± 7) factor analysis. The final measurement model comprised 11 items that loaded on three correlated factors (Overconfident Internal LoC, Cautious Internal LoC, External LoC) and showed good fit in both samples. To investigate construct validity, the Driving Internality (DI) - Driving Externality (DE) scale was administered in Sample 1. The Overconfident factor correlated with the DI (r=.40), and the External with the DE (r=.44). The internal/cautious factor correlated with neither the DI nor the DE. The results support the need to distinguish two dimensions of internal LoC, that might disambiguate the contrasting results on the relationship between risky driving and internal LoC.
Keywords: road safety; Locus of Control; driver behavior; internality; externality