206699 Predictors of older drivers' participation in everyday driving challenges

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shannon M. Sisco, MS , Department of Clinical & Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Sarah E. Cook, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Michael Marsiske, PhD , Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Objective: This study examined the cognitive and physiological factors influencing older adults' participation in performing various driving maneuvers.

Methods: A community-dwelling sample of 50 healthy or mildly cognitively impaired older adults (58% female; mean age = 76.4 years; mean education = 16.2 years) completed a Driving Habits Questionnaire (DHQ), brief vision screening, and a comprehensive cognitive assessment. The DHQ is a self-report measuring recent engagement and difficulty experienced in challenging driving situations (e.g. driving in high traffic). Cognitive assessment constructs selected for this study include cognitive status as measured with the Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE), reaction time on a task requiring vigilance and auditory working memory (N-back), picture naming using the Boston Naming Test (BNT), and the Useful Field of View (UFOV) test of visual attention.

Results: Picture naming (ß=.5, p< .001), visual acuity (&(ß=-.38, p= .002), and reaction time (ß=-.36, p=.004), in a combined statistical model, significantly predicted the number of driving maneuvers performed by older adults (R2=.46, p<.001). Mental status and UFOV, also included in the model, did not predict number of driving maneuvers.

Conclusion: Cognitive status, at least at the stages of mild cognitive impairment, does not appear to affect older drivers' participation in driving behaviors, as demonstrated by their willingness to perform challenging driving maneuvers. Older drivers' behavior does appear to be influenced by their ability to see clearly, to react quickly while being vigilant, and their naming ability, which is sometimes considered as a measure of vocabulary or general verbal intelligence.

Learning Objectives:
• Assess whether mild cognitive impairment affects older adults’ participation in the routine challenges of driving • Evaluate other influences (physiological and specific cognitive factors) on older adults’ participation in everyday driving challenges

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed my Master's Degree in Clinical and Health Psychology, and specialize in neuropsychology. I have collected the data for this project and my primary area of research focuses on the relationship between age-related cognitive changes and practical outcomes in the everyday life of older adults.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.