Self-Determination Theory and Risk Behavior in a Collectivistic Society: Preventing Reckless Driving in Urban Nepal

Yerina S. Ranjit, Leslie B. Snyder, Mark A. Hamilton, Rajiv N. Rimal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traffic road accidents are one of the leading causes of mortality in Nepal and around the world. Drivers in Nepal are not adequately educated about road safety rules. Road conditions are chaotic as traffic regulations are also not strictly enforced. Public safety campaigns may be able to alter drivers’ attitudes and behaviors; however, little is known about which persuasive strategies may be most effective. Drawing on self-determination theory and the Health Belief Model, the current study used a post-only experimental design to test the impact of a short video message. The video included collective vs. individual appeals, and messages emphasizing one’s ability to make the right choice (autonomy support) vs. directive language. Participants were Nepali college students (mean age 20, N = 199). Using structural equation modeling, the study found that directive messages rather than autonomy support influenced an individual seeing value in the recommended behavior (identified regulation), which in turn influenced perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, and behavioral intention. The study also proposed a behavior change model by incorporating the stage of identification with the message upon exposure. This model aims to expand the model proposed by the Health Belief Model, to include a stage of value identification before cues to action influence perception of threat. Further implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-681
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of health communication
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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