College Students’ Attributions of Responsibility For a Drunk Driving Accident

M. Elizabeth Blair, Ohio University
Eva Hyatt, Appalachian State University
ABSTRACT - After reviewing the current research on alcohol and US college students, this study examines the amount of blame placed on various participants in a hypothetical drunk-driving accident (the student who was driving, the beer manufacturer, the driver’s friends who celebrated the student’s birthday with him/her, and the bar where the party occurred). The influence situation and level of company ethics were manipulated to produce several scenarios. Results indicate that in general, student subjects are reluctant to blame the bar or manufacturer, but place the bulk of blame on the birthday friend who drank too much and then had the accident, regardless of the situation. The vast majority of student subjects felt that the birthday friend should have seen what was coming. It appears that college students know not to drink irresponsibly and realize the potential consequences, but neglect to behave responsibly nonetheless.
[ to cite ]:
M. Elizabeth Blair and Eva Hyatt (2001) ,"College Students’ Attributions of Responsibility For a Drunk Driving Accident", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, eds. Mary C. Gilly and Joan Meyers-Levy, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 449.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, 2001     Page 449

COLLEGE STUDENTS’ ATTRIBUTIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT

M. Elizabeth Blair, Ohio University

Eva Hyatt, Appalachian State University

ABSTRACT -

After reviewing the current research on alcohol and US college students, this study examines the amount of blame placed on various participants in a hypothetical drunk-driving accident (the student who was driving, the beer manufacturer, the driver’s friends who celebrated the student’s birthday with him/her, and the bar where the party occurred). The influence situation and level of company ethics were manipulated to produce several scenarios. Results indicate that in general, student subjects are reluctant to blame the bar or manufacturer, but place the bulk of blame on the birthday friend who drank too much and then had the accident, regardless of the situation. The vast majority of student subjects felt that the birthday friend should have seen what was coming. It appears that college students know not to drink irresponsibly and realize the potential consequences, but neglect to behave responsibly nonetheless.

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