Subjective Perception of Risk, in Relation to Personality Factors

Carmen Valentina Poalelungi, Corneliu Havârneanu


This present research is aimed at examining the personality factors which predict risk perception in traffic, in a Romanian context. Also, the connection between risk perception in traffic and driving behavior, as well as the variables which predict the latter were analyzed. The study was carried out among 232 subjects, 119 of which were male, and 113 female. A questionnaire was composed of 76 items, divided into 5 subscales, was used in order to measure the independent variables (sensation seeking, normlessness, driving anger, altruism and anxiety). For the measurement of the dependent variables, we used a set of 30 traffic images on which the subject was asked to answer 5 questions.The overall results show anxiety as a predictor for risk perception; however it explains only 5% of the variance. As expected, risk perception and excitement prediction, in turn, had a percentage of 7.2% of the speed which subjects prefer to use. Based on previous studies, we expected other personality variables to explain risk perception and driving behavior. Also, because of the fairly low variance explained by the predictive model validated as significant, analysis were performed for each situation provided in the questionnaire, thus supporting the principle according to the participants in traffic who are strongly influenced in their actions by their mood and by the situational context. Consistent with previous studies, gender and age differences were shown to exist in regard to risk perception and driving behavior.

traffic, risk, sensation seeking, normlessness, driving, altruism, anxiety

Carmen Valentina Poalelungi – Al. I. Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania, E-mail:
Corneliu Havârneanu – Al. I. Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

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