Title page for ETD etd-03022006-172612

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Farrell, Leah
Author's Email Address lvf2101@vt.edu
URN etd-03022006-172612
Title The A.R.K. Project: A Grassroots, Student-Led, Multiple-Component Intervention to Increase Driver Safety-Belt Use on a University Campus
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Geller, E. Scott Committee Chair
Jones, Russell T. Committee Member
Winett, Richard A. Committee Member
  • Safety-belt use
  • University
  • Community
  • Intervention
Date of Defense 2006-02-27
Availability unrestricted
This study represents a collaborative effort among university academics and community stakeholders. Virginia Tech’s (VT) Center for Applied Behavior Systems (CABS) teamed up with student groups following the death of a fellow student to create The A.R.K. Project. This multiple-component intervention study specifically targeted students on the VT campus, in an attempt to increase driver safety-belt use. Observations on VT students’ safety-belt use and other safety-related behaviors (i.e., turn-signal use and cell-phone use) were made during pre-intervention, intervention, post-intervention, and follow-up study phases and compared with observations made on drivers in two non-equivalent control groups (VT faculty/staff and Radford University (RU) students).

Evaluation of the project revealed no meaningful changes in daily percentages of VT student safety-belt use, when compared to that of non-equivalent control groups. Percentages by phase did vary in the hypothesized direction for VT students. Percentages by phase varied in similar ways for VT faculty/staff, suggesting the student-targeted intervention, over-all, was not responsible for the observed changes. However, one inter-personal intervention component, the Buckle-Up Flashcards prompt was associated with a particularly successful rate of compliance. Thirty percent of un-buckled drivers complied with this inter-personal response.

Because VT student safety-belt use did not change as a function of the intervention, it was irrelevant to investigate response generalization to other safety-related behaviors. Instead, the author focused on covariation between safety-belt use, turn-signal use, and cell-phone use. Buckled drivers were significantly more likely to indicate turns with a turn signal and were significantly less likely to use cell phones. Other additional findings of epidemiologic importance were that safety-belt use was significantly more likely among VT faculty/staff than VT students and safety-belt use was significantly more likely among VT faculty/staff and VT student females than among VT faculty/staff and VT student males. Interpretations of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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