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A Communicative Approach to Road Rage: Accounts of Driving and Retaliation
Unformatted Document Text:  Road Rage 18 to empty cells. However, the qualitative descriptions do indicate a systematic association for the behaviors enacted. For example, one participant wrote, “I was furious and shocked and I honked my horn.” Attributions Research Question 2a concerned the nature of attributions that participants offered? Forty-five percent of the respondents made attributions about the driver of the other vehicle. Almost all of the attributions made were negative in nature. As indicated, attributional dimensions were rated on 7-point scales. Of the respondents who made attributions to the other driver, the means and standard deviations are as follows: responsible/not responsible (M=2.59, Sd=1.56), internal/external (M=2.16, Sd=1.30), stable/unstable (M=2.13, Sd=1.18), global/specific (M=2.13, Sd=1.18), intentional/unintentional (M=2.59, Sd=1.41), blameworthy/blameless (M=2.13, Sd=1.01). The fairness/unfairness of these attributions was also rated by coders (M=3.00, Sd=1.24). Furthermore, a one-sample t-test was run on all the attributions of the other driver, to determine if these means were less than we would anticipate due to chance (i.e., from the response mid-point). In all areas, participants attributed the cause of their road rage to the other driver, and they tended to use more negative attributions. More specifically, participants saw the other driver as more responsible (vs. not responsible), t (31)= 5.09, p < .01, 2 =.46. Moreover, they tended to see the causes as reflecting internal (vs.external) characteristics of the other driver, t(31)= 8.04, p < .01, 2 =.68 that are also stable (vs. unstable), t(31)= 8.95, p < .01; 2 =.72, global (vs. specific), t(31)= 8.95, p < .01, 2 =.72; intentional (vs. unintentional), t (31)= 5.64, p < .01, 2 =.51; and blameworthy (vs. blameless), t(31)= 10.52, p < .01, 2 =.78. Attributing the cause of the road rage incident to the other driver is most clearly demonstrated in several of the accounts. One participant wrote: “This guy is intentionally being an asshole for no reason.” A diagram was drawn and referred to the other car as “Satan’s Car.” Other attributions include words such as “idiot,” “jerk,” “stupid,” “old,” “senile” and “horrible driver.” Some of the most common attributions were in regard to age. Being old or middle-aged was synonymous with being an incompetent driver. After getting stuck behind “this old lady driving like 10 mph, not even exaggerating,” one driver wrote, “The way

Authors: Canary, Daniel., Mikkelson, Alan., Switzer, Frank. and Bailey, Carrie.
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Road Rage 18
to empty cells. However, the qualitative descriptions do indicate a systematic association for the behaviors
enacted. For example, one participant wrote, “I was furious and shocked and I honked my horn.”
Attributions
Research Question 2a concerned the nature of attributions that participants offered? Forty-five
percent of the respondents made attributions about the driver of the other vehicle. Almost all of the
attributions made were negative in nature. As indicated, attributional dimensions were rated on 7-point
scales. Of the respondents who made attributions to the other driver, the means and standard deviations are
as follows: responsible/not responsible (M=2.59, Sd=1.56), internal/external (M=2.16, Sd=1.30),
stable/unstable (M=2.13, Sd=1.18), global/specific (M=2.13, Sd=1.18), intentional/unintentional (M=2.59,
Sd=1.41), blameworthy/blameless (M=2.13, Sd=1.01). The fairness/unfairness of these attributions was
also rated by coders (M=3.00, Sd=1.24). Furthermore, a one-sample t-test was run on all the attributions of
the other driver, to determine if these means were less than we would anticipate due to chance (i.e., from the
response mid-point). In all areas, participants attributed the cause of their road rage to the other driver, and
they tended to use more negative attributions. More specifically, participants saw the other driver as more
responsible (vs. not responsible), t (31)= 5.09, p
<
.01,
2
=.46. Moreover, they tended to see the causes as
reflecting internal (vs.external) characteristics of the other driver, t(31)= 8.04, p
<
.01,
2
=.68 that are also
stable (vs. unstable), t(31)= 8.95, p
<
.01;
2
=.72, global (vs. specific), t(31)= 8.95, p
<
.01,
2
=.72; intentional
(vs. unintentional), t (31)= 5.64, p
<
.01,
2
=.51; and blameworthy (vs. blameless), t(31)= 10.52, p
<
.01,
2
=.78.
Attributing the cause of the road rage incident to the other driver is most clearly demonstrated in
several of the accounts. One participant wrote: “This guy is intentionally being an asshole for no reason.”
A diagram was drawn and referred to the other car as “Satan’s Car.” Other attributions include words such
as “idiot,” “jerk,” “stupid,” “old,” “senile” and “horrible driver.” Some of the most common attributions
were in regard to age. Being old or middle-aged was synonymous with being an incompetent driver. After
getting stuck behind “this old lady driving like 10 mph, not even exaggerating,” one driver wrote, “The way


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