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Gender Differences Among Young Drivers in the Association between High-Risk Driving and Substance Use/Environmental Influences

Publication Abstract

Elliott, Michael R., J.T. Shope, Trivellore Raghunathan, and P.F. Waller. 2006. "Gender Differences Among Young Drivers in the Association between High-Risk Driving and Substance Use/Environmental Influences." Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67(2): 252-260.

Objective: The primary aim of this article is to assess young drivers' gender differences in the associations between substance use/environmental influences and high-risk driving behavior. Method: We determine the association of 12th-grade self-reported substance use/environmental influences with high-risk driving behavior as quantified by the number of offenses, serious offenses, crashes, and single-vehicle crashes on state driving records during subjects' (N = 3,607; 51% male) first 4 years of licensure. Results: The associations between high-risk driving and substance use/environmental influences were generally stronger among women than among men. When matched by substance-use profiles, women had fewer risky-driving incidents than men. Conclusions: The results indicate that young women who exhibit high-risk driving behavior deviate more from the general population of young women with respect to alcohol use, alcohol misuse, and marijuana use than high-risk-driving young men differ from other young men. In addition, findings indicate that even if young men and women were to eventually have equal levels of substance use, women would likely retain their lower-risk driving profiles. These findings suggest the need for (1) future research to understand the differential associations, and (2) prevention programs that consider these gender differences.

PMCID: PMC1538974. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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