Association of traffic behavior with personality and platelet monoamine oxidase activity in schoolchildren

J Adolesc Health. 2007 Apr;40(4):311-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.10.011. Epub 2007 Feb 5.


Purpose: Estimations, attitudes and behavioral decisions in everyday life, including traffic-related situations, are influenced by personality traits. It is known that that there is a strong link between certain personality traits, particularly impulsivity, and central serotonergic functioning. This study examined associations between traffic behavior, personality and platelet monoamine oxidase activity, a marker of central nervous system serotonergic neurotransmission, in schoolchildren.

Methods: Participants were 483 schoolchildren (aged 15.3 +/- .5 years) who filled in questionnaires on traffic behavior and personality. Platelet monoamine oxidase activity was measured radioenzymatically.

Results: Simple logistic regression analysis revealed that subjects with riskier traffic behavior had higher impulsivity (both adaptive as maladaptive facets) as well as lower Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. In multiple logistic regression analysis, many of these associations became nonsignificant, but the high traffic risk group was more likely to have lower Agreeableness and lower platelet MAO activity. Low platelet MAO activity was a significant predictor of risky traffic behavior only in girls who were also influenced by higher Excitement Seeking. Smoking was an independent predictor of all groups with high traffic risks.

Conclusion: Risky traffic behavior in schoolchildren is associated with basic personality dimensions, most consistently with Agreeableness, and with different aspects of impulsivity. Some of these traits, particularly in girls, may be related to central serotonergic neuronal activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology*
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Blood Platelets / enzymology*
  • Child
  • Estonia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / enzymology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Monoamine Oxidase / blood*
  • Personality / classification*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Distribution


  • Monoamine Oxidase