229022 Masculinity and motor vehicle crashes among young adults

Monday, November 8, 2010

Johnathon P. Ehsani, MPH , Center for Injury Prevention among Youth, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
C. Raymond Bingham, PhD , Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Jean T. Shope, MSPH, PhD , Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Motor vehicle crashes (MVC) are the leading cause of death among youth in the U.S. Adjusting for the amount of driving, young men's MVC fatality rate is higher than young women's. This suggests fundamental sex differences. Traditional beliefs about masculinity are related to high-risk behavior among young men, but this association has not been tested for driving. It was hypothesized that an association exists between masculinity, risky driving and MVCs, and the association would be stronger for young men than young women.


The study sample included young adults recruited from Michigan. Confirmatory latent-variable structural equation analysis tested if risk-taking propensity and physical and verbal hostility (all capturing one dimension of masculinity) predicted risky driving behavior and crash involvement. A two group comparison contrasted men and women.


Results from the total sample fit the data well. Masculinity and risk-taking propensity predicted 20% of the variance in risky driving, but less than 1% of the variance in MVCs. The sex comparison indicated that the same model fit both sexes. Model fit was improved by releasing three equality constraints. The final model explained 19% of the variance in risky driving, and less than 1% of the variance in MVCs. Physical hostility and risk-taking propensity more strongly predicted masculinity for men than women, whereas masculinity predicted women's risky driving better than men's.


Further examination of the association between masculinity and driving outcomes is needed to understand the unexpected result of masculinity more strongly predicting risky driving in women than men.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the role of masculinity in risky driving behavior. 2. Describe the association between masculinity, risky driving and motor vehicle crashes in a sample of young adults. 3. Recognize the challenges of investigating the sociological determinants of MVCs.

Keywords: Risk Taking Behavior, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am conducting research in the area of young drivers as part of my doctoral degree.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.