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Understanding the role of self-identity in habitual risky behaviours: Pedestrian road-crossing decisions across the lifespan

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/08/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Health Education Research
Issue number4
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)674-685
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Self-identity as a careful pedestrian has not been fully considered in previous work on predicting intention to cross the road, or actual crossing behaviour, in non-optimal situations. Evidence suggests that self-identity may be a better predictor than attitudes in situations where decision-making styles have become habitual ways to respond. This study compared contributions of self-identity and attitudes to the prediction of intentions in two situations differing in level of habitual crossing expectation, and to crossing behaviour. Three hundred and sixty-two adults (17-92 years) completed a questionnaire measuring self-identity, attitudes, intentions, experience, social identity variables (e.g. age, gender) and personal limitations (mobility). Two hundred and five participants also completed a road-crossing simulation. Self-identity and attitude were both shown as significant independent predictors of intention in both situations. However, self-identity was less effective as a predictor in the higher risk scenario, where intention to perform the behaviour was lower, and for participants aged >75 years who had lower intention across scenarios. Self-identity strongly predicted intention to cross, which in turn predicted behaviour, but self-identity did not directly predict behaviour. Self-identity was strongly predicted by age. Implications for theories of compensation in older age and for design and targeting of pedestrian safety education are discussed.