Research Papers

The Impact of Childhood Symptoms of Conduct Disorder on Driver Aggression Across the Lifespan

Filename 6B-Wickens-The-Impact-of-Childhood-Symptoms-of-Conduct-Disorder.pdf
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Date added June 16, 2014
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Category 2014 CMRSC XXIV Vancouver
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 6B
Author/Auteur Christine M. Wickens, Evelyn Vingilis, Robert E. Mann, Pat Erickson, Maggie E. Toplak, Umesh R. Jain, Nathan Kolla, Jane Seeley, Anca Ialomiteanu, Gina Stoduto, and Gabriela Ilie
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation

6B Wickens_The Impact of Childhood Symptoms of Conduct Disorder



Background: Conduct disorder (CD) is diagnosed based on a prolonged pattern of antisocial behaviour including serious violation of laws and social norms [1]. There has been speculation that those with a history or current diagnosis of CD are more likely to demonstrate reckless and aggressive driving. Yet there has been little research examining the impact of CD on driver behaviour.

Malta et al. [2] examined psychiatric and behavioural problems in young adult drivers who self-reported high versus low levels of driver aggression. Results indicated a significantly greater lifetime prevalence of CD among the high aggression drivers. In a sample of drivers aged 16 to 22 years, Barkley et al. [3] found that symptoms of CD were significantly associated with crash-related injuries, driving without a licence, and other traffic citations. In a cohort study of adolescents from New Zealand, Nada-Raja et al. [4] found that young people with CD at age 15 years were more likely to have committed a driving offence such as driving without a licence or driving within two hours of drinking alcohol between the ages of 15 and 18 years.

Much of the limited research in this field examines the impact of childhood CD on driver behaviour and collision risk in young adults. Few, if any, studies assess the impact of this disorder on driver behaviour across the lifespan. The current research is a population-based study of the impact of CD symptoms during childhood on the risk of engaging in driver aggression among young, middle-aged, and older adults.

Methods:Data are based on telephone interviews with 3,445 respondents who reported having driven in the past year. Data are derived from the 2011-2012 cycles of the CAMH Monitor, an ongoing cross-sectional survey of adults in Ontario, Canada aged 18 years and older. A binary logistic regression analysis of self-reported driver aggression in the previous 12 months was conducted, consisting of measures of demographic characteristics, driving exposure, and childhood (before age 15) symptoms of CD.

Results: Controlling for demographic characteristics and driving exposure, childhood symptoms of CD increased the odds of reporting driver aggression more than two-fold (OR=2.38). When added to the analysis, the interaction between childhood symptoms of CD and age was a significant predictor of driver aggression. Subsequent exploratory analyses revealed significant effects of childhood CD symptoms on drivers aged 18-34 years (OR=4.31) and 35-54 years (OR=2.34), but a non-significant effect on drivers aged 55+ years (OR=1.58).

Conclusions: Results suggest that symptoms of CD during childhood are associated with significantly increased odds of self-reported driver aggression during adulthood. Analyses of three independent age categories revealed progressively smaller odds ratios associated with childhood CD symptoms across the lifespan. This may suggest a decline in the impact of childhood CD symptoms on driving outcomes as drivers age or reflect the declining prevalence of CD over the lifespan. Limitations and future directions of the research will be discussed.

Christine M. Wickens, Evelyn Vingilis, Robert E. Mann, Pat Erickson, Maggie E. Toplak, Umesh R. Jain, Nathan Kolla, Jane Seeley, Anca Ialomiteanu, Gina Stoduto, and Gabriela Ilie