Research Papers

Psychosocial and Health Factors in the Candrive/Ozcandrive Prospective Study

Filename FINAL-PAPER-96.doc
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Version 1
Date added June 10, 2012
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Category 2012 CMRSC XXII Banff
Tags Session 4B
Author/Auteur Holly Tuokko, Anita Myers, Alexandra Jouk


Purpose: This presentation will describe the relations among driving-related psychosocial measures and measures related to health and function administered as part of the Canadian and Australian Driving Research Initiative for Vehicular Safety in the Elderly (Candrive/Ozcandrive) common cohort study. This prospective study involves over 900 drivers 70 years of age and older in seven Canadian cities. Psychosocial measures were administered at baseline (the focus of the present analysis) and annually to increase our understanding about the processes underlying people's driving self-regulation (i.e., attitudes, beliefs, perceptions about driving) in relation to other characteristics including health and functional status.

Method: For the present analysis, scores on three sets of psychosocial measures were examined in relation to driver characteristics (age, gender) as well as perceived health status (e.g., Short Form-36, symptom checklist, reported medical conditions) and functional performance measures (e.g., Rapid Pace Walk, MMSE). The primary psychosocial measures examined were: the 13-item Day and 16-item Night Driving Comfort Scales (DCSs); the 15-item Perceived Driving Abilities (PDA) scale; and the 36-item Decision Balance Plus scale that examines perceived pros and cons of driving and includes measures derived from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (perceived control, subjective norm and intentions toward driving).

Results: The baseline sample (n = 933), 62% of whom were men, ranged in age from 70 to 94. Scores on most of the primary psychosocial measures were significantly related to age (i.e., older members of the cohort had lower comfort scores, poorer perceptions of their driving abilities, perceived more social pressure to stop driving, and were more likely to report that they were less likely to continue to drive in the future). Men in the study had significantly higher levels of driving comfort than the women. When analyses with health and cognition were controlled for age and gender, significant relations between health status and the psychosocial measures were evident under most circumstances. Few associations were found with cognitive scores.

Conclusions: This preliminary examination of the Canadian baseline data from the Candrive/Ozcandrive prospective study suggests that the relations among attitudes, beliefs and perceptions and health status may act as mediators in the self-regulation process. This work highlights the importance of bringing together psychosocial information and material relevant to health/medical status to fully understand their relation to driving behavior and, ultimately, enhance road safety for all. As longitudinal data becomes available, it will be possible to extend our current understanding of driver decision-making obtained from cross-sectional studies by examining these constructs in a single study with a much larger sample of older drivers. Prospective data will allow us to examine which psychosocial factors are predictive of change in driving behaviour over time (e.g., increased self-restrictions and voluntary cessation) and how scores on psychosocial measures (e.g., comfort level and perceived driving abilities) change with the development of medical problems and/or driving crashes.

Holly Tuokko, Anita Myers, Alexandra Jouk