Out of the rut: Development and evaluation of a relapse prevention programme for disqualified drivers
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Driving while disqualified, that is during a period of driving license revocation, represents a serious and recurrent social problem, with approximately 54% of convicted individuals being re-convicted in the ensuing six years. This high recidivism rate has been thought to be associated with compulsivity or addictive processes. This study outlines the rationale for, and the development of, a relapse prevention styled, cognitive behavioural treatment programme for offenders convicted of driving while disqualified, and reports on its effectiveness. The major assumption of the relapse-prevention approach is that for many men their driving offenses represent a maladaptive response to stressful events such as interpersonal conflict. Therefore, the primary treatment approach revolves around teaching individuals the habitual nature of their offending and more effective ways to solve their interpersonal problems and to regulate negative affective states. Results indicated that the 144 treated offenders were re-convicted of further violations of license revocation at a significantly lower rate than a matched comparison group. Although no difference was found for subsequent drunk driving re-convictions, it appears that the programme may have reduced subsequent other criminal offending. In addition, a significant pre to post treatment change on a measure of cognitions related to driving, specifically developed for the programme, was found when compared with a no treatment control group. These results are discussed in terms of their support for the efficacy of a relapse prevention treatment approach to this group of offenders, and for considering disqualified drivers as a distinct subgroup of driving offenders.