The Relation Between Perceived Risk and Preventive Action: A Within-Subject Analysis of Perceived Driving Risk and Intentions to Wear Seatbelts

  • Published: Journal of Applied Social Psychology (1990) Vol. 20 No. 19.
  • Authors: Stasson, M. And Fishbein, M.
  • Date Added: 01 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 01 Feb 2013
  • Format: pdf


To investigate the role of psychological variables in intentions to use seatbelts across a variety of driving situations


79 university students who were licensed drivers completed a questionnaire about driving in 12 different road conditions. The students entered their responses directly into a personal computer. Factor analysis defined the measures of “intention”, “perceived risk”, “attitude toward wearing a seatbelt”, and “subjective norm”. The correlation between measures was then analysed.

Key Findings:

  • The correlation between intention and perceived risk was not significant.

  • Attitude and norm measures were significantly correlated with behavioural intention in all 12 driving situations.

  • Perceived risk plays a smaller role than attitudes and norms in predicting intentions to wear a seatbelt.

  • As driving situations get riskier intentions to wear seatbelts depend more on subjective norms than on attitude.

  • Seatbelt campaigns should target attitudes and subjective norms.

  • Campaigns should promote the benefits of wearing seatbelts, and reduce the perceived costs.

  • Risk focused campaigns can be expected to have little effect on seatbelt wearing behaviour.

Priced from the British Library