STRESS TRAITS AND COPING STYLES AS PREDICTORS OF STRESS SYMPTOMS IN BUS DRIVERS
 
Machin, A. and Hoare, N., University of Southern Queensland, Australia
 
The occupation of urban bus driving can expose drivers to a variety of potential stressors, such as traffic congestion, pressure to adhere to strict time schedules, demands to provide professional services to passengers, and responsibility for safe driving. The primary goal of the present research was to use a transactional framework for driver stress research to explore relations among several stress-related variables. Based on Matthews' (2001) driver stress framework, a model for predicting stress and fatigue in bus drivers was proposed that included workload, driver stress traits, driver coping styles, and subjective stress symptoms. Workload was defined as weekly working hours, weekly driving hours, and daily passenger volume. Fifty-four bus drivers from organizations throughout Australia completed a cross-sectional questionnaire that contained the Driver Stress Inventory, the Driver Coping Questionnaire, the Need for Recovery Scale, the Job-Related Affective Well-Being Scale, the Physical Symptoms Inventory, open-ended questions about fatigue, and demographic questions. A standard multiple regression revealed workload to be a significant predictor of affective well-being and fatigue, but not of physical symptoms. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses found the maladaptive driver stress traits of Aggression, Dislike of Driving, Fatigue- Proneness, and Thrill-Seeking, and the maladaptive Confrontive and Emotion- Focused coping styles to be significant predictors of all three stress outcomes, after controlling for workload. The results identified maladaptive driver stress traits and coping styles as potential targets for intervention programs to assist bus drivers to better manage their work- related stressors.