The effect of conformity tendency on pedestrians' road-crossing intentions in China: an application of the theory of planned behavior

Accid Anal Prev. 2009 May;41(3):491-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.01.007. Epub 2009 Feb 15.


This paper presents a survey investigating the effects of age, gender and conformity tendency on Chinese pedestrians' intention to cross the road in potentially dangerous situations. A sample of 426 respondents completed a demographic questionnaire, a scale measuring their tendency towards social conformity, and a questionnaire based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB). This questionnaire measured people's intentions to cross the road in two different road crossing situations, their attitude towards the behavior, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, anticipated affect, moral norms, and perceived risk. The two scenarios depicted (i) a situation where the crossing was consistent with other pedestrians' behavior (Conformity scenario) and (ii) a situation where the road crossing was inconsistent with other pedestrians (Non-Conformity scenario). Pedestrians reported greater likelihood in crossing the road when other pedestrians were crossing the road. People who showed greater tendencies towards social conformity also had stronger road crossing intentions than low conformity people for both scenarios. The predictive model explained 36% and 48% of the variance in the Non-Conformity and Conformity scenarios, respectively. Attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and perceived risk emerged as the common predictors for both situations. The results have a number of theoretical and practical implications. In particular, interventions should focus on perceptions of risk that inform road users that crossing with other pedestrians against the signal is also unsafe and prohibited, and may lead to negative outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Conformity*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Urban Population
  • Walking / psychology*
  • Young Adult