The "Homogamy" of Road Rage Revisited

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					Violence and Victims, Volume 23, Number 6, 2008




                   The “Homogamy” of Road
                        Rage Revisited
                                   Lynne D. Roberts, PhD
                   Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia

                                 David W. Indermaur, PhD
                    Crime Research Centre, University of Western Australia

      The principle of homogamy, the tendency for victims and offenders to share behavioral and
      demographic characteristics, has been applied to various forms of violent crime. This article
      explores how this principle relates to types of “road rage” using a survey of 1,208 Australian
      drivers. Two-thirds of drivers who perpetrated violent forms of road rage also reported being
      victims of the same crime, providing support for the homogamy thesis. Perpetrators were
      predominantly young males with low socioeconomic status who lacked the ability to control
      their temper. Perpetrator-victims were more likely than other victims to have a history of
      driving violations and higher levels of general aggression and report more frequent aggres-
      sive driving behaviors. The implications for theories of violence are discussed.


Keywords: road rage; violent crime; aggression; homogamy; driving behavior; violence
victims




R
        oad rage has attracted much media attention across the Western world over the past
        decade (Lupton, 2001; Marshall & Thomas, 2000; Roberts & Indermaur, 2005b;
        Smart & Mann, 2002). The media uses the term road rage to refer to a range of
aggressive driving-related behaviors from making obscene gestures through to physical
violence. Academic interest in road rage has trailed behind media interest. Recent research
has focused on establishing the prevalence of behaviors classified as road rage in countries
such as Australia (Roberts & Indermaur, 2005a), Canada (Smart, Mann, & Stoduto, 2003;
Smart, Mann, Zhao, & Stoduto, 2005), and the United Kingdom (Marshall & Thomas,
2000). The picture emerging from this research is of widespread noncriminal aggressive
driving-related behaviors and less frequent criminal driving-related road rage acts.
   Research has also been undertaken into the role of a range of personal variables on road
rage. These have included general aggression (Van Rooy, Rotton, & Barns, 2006), trait anger
(Deffenbacher, Richards, Filetti, & Lynch, 2005), levels of frustration experienced with other
road users (Ellwanger, 2007), psychiatric distress (Smart, Asbridge, Mann, & Adalf, 2003),
alcohol and substance use (Butters, Smart, Mann, & Asbridge, 2005; Yu, Evans, & Perfetti,
2004), and personality and beliefs (Britt & Garrity, 2006). Most of this research has focused
on noncriminal aggressive driving behaviors rather than criminal acts of road rage violence.
   It has not been established whether the predictors of noncriminal aggressive driv-
ing behaviors also predict criminal road rage involvement. Underlying this issue is the
question as to whether road rage does indeed constitute a continuum of like behaviors

758                                                             © 2008 Springer Publishing Company
                                                                        DOI: 10.1891/0886-6708.23.6.758
Homogamy of Road Rage Revisited                                                            759

or whether there is a qualitative
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: The principle of homogamy, the tendency for victims and offenders to share behavioral and demographic characteristics, has been applied to various forms of violent crime. This article explores how this principle relates to types of "road rage" using a survey of 1,208 Australian drivers. Two-thirds of drivers who perpetrated violent forms of road rage also reported being victims of the same crime, providing support for the homogamy thesis. Perpetrators were predominantly young males with low socioeconomic status who lacked the ability to control their temper. Perpetrator-victims were more likely than other victims to have a history of driving violations and higher levels of general aggression and report more frequent aggressive driving behaviors. The implications for theories of violence are discussed. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
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