Implicit theories in driving: Scale development, validation, and predictive role on violations and driving self-efficacy

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

  • Entity beliefs
  • Incremental beliefs
  • Accidents
  • Risky driving
  • Driving behavior


Implicit theories focus on how ability may be perceived by individuals. There are two main beliefs: entity beliefs (i.e., driving ability is a gift) and incremental beliefs (i.e., driving ability is improvable through effort). Implicit theories have been studied in various domains (e.g., education, sport), but never in driving, even though they could improve the knowledge of drivers' psychological characteristics. The first objective of the present study was to develop and validate a questionnaire measuring implicit theories in driving. The second objective was to assess the predictive role of implicit theories on violations and driving self-efficacy, and the moderating role of gender. In study 1, confirmatory factor analysis, analyses of gender invariance, and concurrent validity were assessed to validate the questionnaire named Implicit Theories in Driving Questionnaire (ITDQ). In study 2, the predictive role of implicit theories on violations and driving self-efficacy was evaluated using multiple regression analyses. Moderation analyses evaluated the moderating role of gender on the relationships between implicit theories and violations, along with driving self-efficacy. The ITDQ showed acceptable psychometric properties. The results highlighted that entity beliefs positively predicted aggressive violations and negatively predicted driving self-efficacy. Conversely, incremental beliefs negatively predicted ordinary violations and positively predicted driving self-efficacy. The ITDQ is a valid scale now available for assessing implicit theories in driving, that have been shown to influence self-reported driving behavior. Future research on implicit theories in driving may help to better understand the psychological characteristics of at-risk drivers and improve driver's training, to reduce the number of road accidents.