HOUSTON - Houston is not the only city seeing a rise in violent road rage incidents this year. What’s behind it?
"I tend to look at road rage through a lens of entitlement," says Dr. Kristin Anderson, professor of Psychology at the University of Houston Downtown, who has a theory that our rise in abrupt acts of violence stems from a deeper-rooted issue.
"Entitled people have a sense of deserving that outweighs reality. If you're a very entitled person, you feel that things should go your way; that people should bend to your will. If someone pulls in front of you on a crowded road that's going to affect you differently than someone who isn't so entitled and might let it go or not make a big deal about it. For entitled people, they feel a kind of righteous justification in retaliating," says Anderson.
Dr. Anderson sees many aspects of 2020 as having put people’s inner sense of entitlement on display.
The presidential election led many to become combative on social media. It wasn’t just adults. Bark Technology monitors more than five million children online and claims they saw an unusual spike in digital harassment that appeared to directly tie to elections.
Research published by Cornell University found entitlement was a predictor of non-compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance.
Even the George Floyd movement, which Dr. Anderson says brought forth a "kind of a culture of 'we're being replaced by groups of people who shouldn't have the same status as us, and we need to bring back power'."
Watch FOX 26 anchor Kaitlin Monte’s conversation with the Houston author of the book "Enraged, Rattled, and Wronged: Entitlement’s Response to Social Progress".