Date of Award

Fall 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Walter Buboltz


One novel approach to the driving under the influence (DUI) problem is the informal DUI intervention. Informal DUI interventions are any attempts made to prevent an alcohol-impaired individual from driving. The research to date has concentrated on the factors leading individuals to intervene, informally, in a DUI situation. Comparatively little research has investigated the factors leading potential drunk drivers to comply with informal intervention requests.

An interactional arousal/cost-benefit model was used to predict self-reported informal DUI intervention compliance. According to the model, potential DUI offenders' decisions to comply with intervention requests would be influenced by background variables, context variables, intervention type variables, and evaluative and subjective response variables. Experiment 1 consisted of a survey containing measures to assess the reliability and validity of the measures included in the survey. The survey materials were found to provide adequate measures of the constructs under investigation. A second, independent experiment was conducted on a sample of 453 undergraduate students. Forty-four percent of the sample (males = 97; females = 105) reported that another individual had attempted to stop them from driving following drinking in the past year. A hierarchical regression analysis was conducted on these 202 individuals. Background variables, context variables, intervention type variables, and evaluative and subjective response variables were entered in four sequential blocks.

The first block of background variables failed to contribute significantly to the prediction of self-reported compliance. The second block composed of context variables also failed to predict self-reported compliance. The third block of intervention specific-variables explained a significant amount of the variance (r2 = .89) attributable to self-reported compliance. The fourth and final block of evaluative and subjective response variables failed to increase significantly the amount of variance explained by the final regression equation. Results imply that decisions to comply with informal DUI interventions are guided by a heuristic model (which is mainly a function of the number of passive and assertive interventions attempted) rather than the arousal/cost-benefit model that has been found to underlie the intervener's decision.