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 demonstrates that road safety benefits are unlikely, and indeed there are instances in which crash risk increases after training.
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.
Consortium of Adolescent Road Safety
The Consortium of Adolescent Road Safety (CADROSA) takes an innovative approach to improving adolescent road safety, implementing multi-country projects simultaneously with dissemination of findings occurring in a coordinated manner that is designed to reach a broader audience. Given the over representation of adolescents in road safety crash statistics, CADROSA began development in 2014 and was officially launched in 2016. To find out more visit www.cadrosa.org.
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.)
Each semester as part of her engagement activities for USC, Dr Bridie Scott-Parker provides a mixed-format lecture to the first year psychology students enrolled in the compulsory course PSY102 Current Directions in Psychology. Bridie's topic – Applied Social Psychology: Young Driver Road Safety. As part of the teaching team, Bridie won a 2016 USC Advance Award recognising the team's engagement of students in a quality learning experience by applying rich and engaging teaching approaches that substantially improve students' learning experiences.
ARRU latest news
8 September 2017
USC to hold lecture series for Gympie parents
Parents of high school students in Gympie will have the opportunity to quiz USC academics on a range of teenage issues, from road safety to understanding the adolescent brain.
11 July 2017
Researcher stars in bite-sized road safety videos
A University of the Sunshine Coast researcher has joined forces with Sunshine Coast based insurance company Youi to produce a series of short online videos aimed at promoting road safety.
21 June 2017
USC study aims to lessen risk for drivers with autism
Innovative USC research into young drivers with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will examine the learners’ licensing experiences, with the goal of minimising any extra road safety risk.
7 May 2017
Learner drivers needed for road safety research
More volunteers are needed for USC research that aims to better understand how the driving behaviours of young motorists change when they progress from having L-plates to P-plates.
23 February 2017
USC researcher to inspire graduate women
A USC Senior Research Fellow working to prevent teenagers being killed in car crashes will share her professional and personal insights at an International Women’s Day Celebratory Breakfast on Saturday 4 March.
3 February 2017
L-platers needed for driving behaviour research
A USC academic is conducting research to better understand how driving behaviours change when young motorists progress from having L-plates to P-plates.