Evidence that implementation intentions reduce drivers' use of mobile phones while driving

Mark A. Elliott, Abigail Paterson, Scott Orr, Colin Marshall, Claire Wood, Martin Toye, Claire Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Implementation intentions are IF-THEN plans that have the potential to reduce mobile phone use while driving and thus contribute towards the prevention of road traffic crashes. We tested whether an intervention, designed to promote the formation of implementation intentions, could reduce drivers’ use of mobile phones. A randomized controlled design was used. The participants (N = 136) were randomised to an implementation intention or a control condition. Self-report questionnaires were administered to all participants at both pre- and one-month post-intervention to measure the use of mobile phones while driving, goal intentions and the theoretically derived motivational pre-cursors of goal intentions (attitudes, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control). Immediately following the pre-intervention questionnaire, the participants in the implementation intention condition (n = 67) were given a volitional help sheet, which asked them to form implementation intentions by specifying target driving situations that tempted them the most to use a mobile phone and linking them with goal-directed responses that could be used to resist the temptation. The participants in the control condition (n = 69) were asked to specify target situations that tempted them the most to use a mobile phone while driving and to generally try to avoid using a mobile phone in those situations. One-month post-intervention, the participants in the implementation intention condition reported using a mobile phone less often while driving in their specified target driving situations than did the participants in the control condition. As expected, no differences were found between the conditions in the reported frequency of mobile phone use in unspecified driving situations, goal intentions or any motivational pre-cursor of goal intentions. The implementation intention intervention that was tested in this study is a potentially effective tool for reducing mobile phone use while driving in target driving situations, where behaviour-change is most needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-397
Number of pages17
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Volume78
Early online date26 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • implementation intentions
  • volitional help sheet
  • mobile phone use
  • driving

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