The Predictive Role of Achievement Goals Adoption on Sensation-Seeking and Risk Taking in Driving Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour

  • Mascret Nicolas
  • Nicolleau Martin
  • Martha Cécile
  • Naude Claire
  • Serre Thierry
  • Ragot-Court Isabelle

  • Achievement goals
  • Sensation seeking
  • Risk
  • Violations
  • Driving behavior
  • 2 x 2 model


Risk taking in driving is a major road safety issue. Understanding the individual psychological differences that may influence risk taking may contribute to better overcome its negative consequences. Recently, four achievement goals were highlighted in the driving domain: striving to drive well or to improve as much as possible (mastery-approach goals), to avoid driving badly or to avoid being a worse driver than before (mastery-avoidance goals), to outperform other drivers (performance-approach goals), and to avoid being a worse driver than other drivers (performance-avoidance goals). The first purpose of the present study was to examine the predictive role of these achievement goals in driving on self-reported drivers' risk taking (ordinary and aggressive violations) and sensationseeking. The second purpose of the study was to test the mediating role of sensation seeking between achievement goals adoption in driving and violations. A total of 341 French drivers voluntarily filled out the questionnaires assessing the variables of interest. The main results showed that performance-approach goals adoption was found to positively predict sensation seeking, ordinary and aggressive violations, whereas masteryavoidance goals adoption was found to negatively predict these variables. The results also highlighted that sensation seeking was a significant mediator of the relationships between the two previous achievement goals (performance-approach and mastery-avoidance goals) and ordinary and aggressive violations. In conclusion, the achievement goal model may now be considered a relevant theoretical framework in the driving literature focusing on risk taking, sensation seeking, and road safety.