Adolescent Risk Research Unit

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Adolescent Risk Research Unit


The Adolescent Risk Research Unit (ARRU) at the University of the Sunshine Coast, led by Dr Bridie Scott-Parker, aims to understand the nature of adolescent risk, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of all adolescents.

Cutting-edge methodologies and evidence-based practice guide our research efforts in the domains of road safety, mental health and social influence, optimising health and wellbeing of adolescents throughout their lifetime.

Research at Adolescent Risk Research Unit

Research focus at USC's Adolescent Risk Research Unit (ARRU) includes the pervasive problem of young and novice drivers being disproportionately represented in road crash injuries and fatalities, a situation that is well recognised around the world. As leader of the ARRU, this research continues Dr Bridie Scott-Parker's findings from her doctoral dissertation 'A comprehensive investigation of the risky driving behaviour of young novice drivers' comprised 11 peer-reviewed publications on such topics as the impact of changes to Queensland's graduated driver licensing program; measuring the risky behaviour of young novice drivers; and the role of sensation seeking, reward and punishment sensitivity, anxiety and depression in the risky behaviour of young novice drivers.

Advanced driver training is often suggested as a solution to the young driver problem, however, research published in RACV's The Effectiveness of Driver Training / Education as a Road Safety Measure 2016 edition (PDF 267KB) * demonstrates that road safety benefits are unlikely, and indeed there are instances in which crash risk increases after training.

The ARRU maintains a summary of the key features of graduated driver licensing programs (PDF 269KB) * in every Australian state and territory, and across New Zealand.

Young drivers need to drive safe cars. Therefore the ARRU also provides a Vehicle safety features: A guide to sourcing information summary (PDF 301KB) * of where to access vehicle-safety information.

Supported by Bridie's decade plus of expertise in  young and novice driver road safety, the ARRU's research also includes adolescent health and wellbeing more generally, including teen mental health, social influences, and interactions with authorities such as police.

In May 2014 Bridie was invited by the Australian Academy of Science to present her innovative research at the Shine Dome, Canberra, as a Science Star of Tomorrow 'Young driver road safety: An innovative approach to a persistent problem'. Watch Bridie's presentation on Youtube.

* For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page.

Honours stipend available

The road safety of emergency personnel, including paramedics, is increasingly of concern to road users, road safety researchers, practitioners and policy-makers. The University of the Sunshine Coast has a number of stipends available to support Honours (Social Science, Psychology) students interested in this important are of applied research.

Submit a written expression of interest to Dr Bridie Scott-Parker, Senior Research Fellow, outlining your suitability for the Honours program (note that you will need to formally apply for, and be accepted into, the Honours program and your interest in research in applied psychology. A strong interest in higher degree research studies is preferred.)

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