Driving anger as a psychological construct: Twenty years of research using the Driving Anger Scale

J. L. Deffenbacher, A. N. Stephens, M. J.M. Sullman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been two decades since Deffenbacher, Oetting, and Lynch (1994) published their paper introducing the construct of driving anger. Since this time the Driving Anger Scale (DAS) has been adopted by a large number of transportation researchers and is the scale most commonly used to measure trait driving anger. Drivers high in trait driving anger tend to experience anger more often and more intensely when driving than those low in trait driving anger. In this paper we provide a broad overview of some of the leading research on driving anger conducted over the past 20 years. We intertwine the body of work by Deffenbacher and colleagues undertaken over the past years with research drawn from New Zealand, Malaysia, Turkey, Spain, Ireland, Japan, Ukraine, France, UK, China, Finland, The Netherlands and Ukraine. This article summarises the results regarding the validity and stability of the latent constructs underlying the measure of driving anger, along with the similarities and differences in the patterns of findings made. In particular we focus on the situations and driver characteristics, such as age and gender that trigger anger. This manuscript discusses the potential detrimental consequences of this anger and the factors that mediate the two. We conclude that the construct of driving anger is robust across a diverse range of drivers. However, while the DAS is a valuable tool in identifying drivers prone to anger, and subsequently higher risk of aggressive behaviour, we introduce some potential shortfalls of the current scale in the modern driving climate. In doing this, we present to the research community potential avenues for further development of the driving anger construct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-247
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggressive driving
  • DAS
  • Driving Anger Scale
  • Trait driving anger


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