Faculty Publications

Dwelling On 'Road Rage': The Effects Of Trait Rumination On Aggressive Driving

Document Type



Aggressive driving, Anger rumination, Driving anger, Rumination, Trait anger

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour



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Previous research has consistently found a relationship between driving anger and aggressive driving. Some research focusing on the content of thoughts has helped to account for this relationship; however, there is a paucity of research on how specific styles of thinking, such as the tendency to ruminate, impacts aggressive driving behavior. Guided by theories illustrating the impact of rumination on negative emotions, the present research explores the role of rumination in the prediction of aggressive driving. Study 1 demonstrated that an angry ruminative response style partially mediated the relationship between trait driving anger and history of aggressive driving behaviors. Study 2 used a manipulation of thinking style and examined more immediate reactions to a provoking driving scenario using guided imagery. When given rumination instructions, trait rumination mediated the effect of angry mood ratings on intended aggressive driving behavior ratings. However, when distraction instructions were provided, trait rumination did not influence aggressive driving behavior intention ratings while driving. Findings are interpreted from the perspective of advancing the understanding of the role of rumination in anger experience and expression, with suggestions for prevention and treatment. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Department of Psychology

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version