The Behaviors & Attitudes Drinking & Driving Scale (BADDS): A First Hand Historical Perspective from Co-Developer Dr. Jeremy Jewell

In 2002 I was in my second year as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, when I was approached by Dr. Greg Luttrell, a faculty member in Civil Engineering, who wanted to study the effectiveness of the Fatal Vision goggles. Joined by my colleague Dr. Steve Hupp, I thought this would be a straightforward study. First, we needed to find a questionnaire that measured individual’s attitudes toward drinking and driving, though in fact this turned out to be quite difficult. After weeks of searching the research literature on the topic of DUI (Driving under the Influence) Prevention and Intervention, we found that there was no measure with any established reliability and validity. In fact, most researchers who had conducted multi-million-dollar federal grants on the topic of DUI prevention, asked their subjects only one question regarding drinking and driving. Thus, the BADDS was born out of initial necessity rather than any other motivation.

Although the BADDS was first created for research purposes, it quickly became clear that it also had applicability in clinical settings as well. From the outset, we wanted to be able to assess not only individuals’ attitudes towards drinking and driving, but also their self-reported behaviors related to DUI. In its current form, the BADDS has three subscales that measure attitudes towards drinking and driving. The first is the Rationalizations for Drinking and Driving, which as the name implies measures common beliefs that individuals use to legitimize drinking and driving. The next is the Lenient Attitudes towards Drinking and Driving, which assesses a person’s perception of social attitudes and norms that are permissive of DUI. The Likelihood of Driving scale is a unique tool that measures a person’s self-predicted DUI behavior given a particular amount of alcohol that they have imbibed, and distance that they must drive. For example, one of the Likelihood of Driving items asks how likely you would be to drive about a mile if you had 3-4 drinks. The BADDS also has two behavior scales that measure self-reported drinking and driving in the last month, as well as riding with a drinking driver in the last month.

Several studies conducted by ourselves as well as other research teams around the world, have found the BADDS to be a reliable and valid measure of DUI attitudes and behavior. For example, the BADDS scales are stable over time and items show consistency within each scale. The BADDS also shows a high degree of validity, as recent DUI offenders report 2 to 3 times higher scores on all five of the BADDS scales when compared to adults with no DUI history. And in longitudinal studies we have conducted, adults’ scores on the attitudes scales correlate strongly with self-reported DUI behavior four weeks later. For example, those who scored low on the Rationalizations for Drinking and Driving scale reported only about one occurrence of drinking and driving in the previous month while those who scored high, reported drinking and driving seven times in the previous month. Since the BADDS was made available through the SASSI Institute in 2007, it has been translated into several other languages and used by dozens of researchers studying DUI prevention and intervention around the world. In community settings, the BADDS has sold several hundred thousand copies, allowing clinicians to better understand and treat their clients. We are proud to have been able to contribute to reducing DUI-related injuries and deaths and look forward to continuing our collaboration with The SASSI Institute.