OBJECTIVE: Cross-sectional survey research has shown correlations between drink-driving behavior and people's beliefs concerning the riskiness, social acceptability and morality of driving under the influence of alcohol. The current study examines the association between such beliefs and subsequent alcohol-impaired driving in a sample of offenders who were driving under the influence (DUI). METHOD: Repeated interviews were conducted with 182 multiple DUI offenders. Baseline data included measures of moral and prescriptive beliefs concerning alcohol-impaired driving (internal behavioral controls), perceived risks of criminal punishment and crashes associated with alcohol-impaired driving (external behavioral controls) and perceived peer-group attitudes toward alcohol-impaired driving (social control). The dependent variable in the study was a measure of self-reported alcohol-impaired driving over the preceding 2 years, collected at 2-year follow-up from baseline. RESULTS: Results from multiple regression modeling showed significant protective effects associated with the beliefs that driving after drinking is immoral and that random police sobriety checks are a good idea (internal control items). Results also showed that a social desirability control measure was predictive of increased risk, at follow-up, for driving after drinking. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that internal controls may protect against alcohol-impaired driving behavior, even in a high-risk sample of repeat DUI offenders. The results also suggest that future policy interventions to curtail drink-driving might profitably be designed to promote these sorts of behavioral controls.
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