The authors thank Ross Loomis for his assistance with previous drafts of the manuscript.
Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage†
Article first published online: 21 MAY 2008
© 2008 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 38, Issue 6, pages 1664–1688, June 2008
How to Cite
Szlemko, W. J., Benfield, J. A., Bell, P. A., Deffenbacher, J. L. and Troup, L. (2008), Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38: 1664–1688. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2008.00364.x
- Issue published online: 21 MAY 2008
- Article first published online: 21 MAY 2008
Aggressive driving has received substantial media coverage during the past decade. We report 3 studies testing a territorial explanation of aggressive driving. Altman (1975) described attachment to, personalization of, and defense of primary territories (e.g., home) as being greater than for public territories (e.g., sunbathing spot on a beach). Aggressive driving may occur when social norms for defending a primary territory (i.e., one's automobile) become confused with less aggressive norms for defending a public territory (i.e., the road). Both number of territory markers (e.g., bumper stickers, decals) and attachment to the vehicle were significant predictors of aggressive driving. Mere presence of a territory marker predicts increased use of the vehicle to express anger and decreased use of adaptive/constructive expressions.