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The association between mindfulness and driving behaviour in employees

This study examined the effect of mindfulness on driving behaviour, and the possible mediating effects of a number of well-being measures. Specifically, the research aimed to determine (1) if higher levels of mindfulness would lead to safer driving practices and (2) if there was a relationship between mindfulness and safe driving, whether this was mediated by well-being measures including self-control, emotion regulation, happiness, life satisfaction, job satisfaction and work engagement. Participants included 216 employees from 16 organizations. They all completed ‘the mindfulness, wellbeing and driving’ questionnaire, which involved measures of mindfulness, intentions to violate traffic rules, self-reported number of traffic incidences in the previous 12 months (fines, near misses and crashes), as well as the well-being measures mentioned above. First, a strong correlation between increased levels of mindfulness and safer driving practices was found, including a decreased likelihood of texting. Further initial correlations also demonstrated relationships between mindfulness and all the well-being measures. As mindfulness increased, levels of all the well-being measures increased, with the exception of happiness. However, when mediation analysis was performed only self-control and happiness were found to mediate the relationship between mindfulness and safer driving, while the effect of emotion regulation, life and job satisfaction and work engagement were not found to be significant mediators. The role of self-control as a mediator in the mindfulness safer driving relationship supported previous research. Increased levels of attention, awareness and emotion regulation are all qualities associated with increased levels of mindfulness, which have also been demonstrated to relate to safer driving practices. While happiness was found to positively mediate the relationship between mindfulness and safer driving practices, interestingly, the relationship between mindfulness and happiness was opposite to what was expected. As levels of mindfulness increased, levels of happiness decreased. This may have been due to the happiness measure, which contained eudaimonic and hedonic factors. Hedonic factors have been considered less indicative of life satisfaction and overall well-being, and run opposite to the principles underlying mindfulness. Despite this, increased levels of happiness were still found to increase safer driving practices. These findings will hopefully ignite more research efforts to be directed towards examining the effects of mindfulness interventions on driving practices, and overall social and occupational well-being.
Type of thesis
Bird, D. (2018). The association between mindfulness and driving behaviour in employees (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11838
The University of Waikato
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