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Drink driving and personality
An 'urgency' personality trait could be linked to a greater risk of drink driving. New research from the University of Missouri (MU) has found people who commit this offence also exhibit this characteristic or lack of emotional self-control.
Denis McCarthy, an Associate Professor of Psychology at MU, noted the findings indicate some people may be more likely than others to drive home drunk rather than wait for a taxi or bus.
The investigation consisted of two studies, with the first including an evaluation of 29 individuals to test impulsivity and the other a survey of 800 people about their drinking and driving beliefs and behaviours.
Mr McCarthy observed the urgency trait can explain why people get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated when the thought of doing so would normally shock them while sober.
"Under the influence of alcohol, some people may feel an exited emotional state and hence greater urges to act on an impulse that they would normally not condone," he explained
Dr. Michael Sinclair, Chartered Psychologist, AFBPsS, CSci, Consultant Counselling Psychologist, Clinical Director at City Psychology Group commented:
“It is understandable that those with a tendency towards impulsivity would engage in more risk taking behaviour. The intolerance for emotional discomfort will lead to acting on urges that may at times involve dangerous action, such a drink driving. Such an intolerance would no doubt be exacerbated under the influence of alcohol as would be the difficulty to think in a lucid manner around a cost/benefit analysis of future behaviour. Those that experience difficulty with impulse control may find it helpful to practice mindfulness and specific exercises such as “urge surfing” to reinforce an existing tolerance towards any emotional discomfort. It may also be helpful to drink less alcohol or leave the car at home if they choose to drink alcohol. “
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