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J Safety Res. 2013 Sep;46:107-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2013.05.001. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Tactical, strategic, and life-goal self-regulation of driving by older adults: development and testing of a questionnaire.

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  • 1University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2150, USA.



Appropriate self-regulation of driving - that is, adjusting one's driving patterns by driving less or avoiding specific situations considered challenging - shows promise as a strategy for extending safe driving. However, results on the extent of self-regulatory practices among older drivers vary considerably across studies.


The purpose of this study was to develop and test a questionnaire to measure self-regulation at multiple levels of driver performance and decision making, using a sample of older drivers comprised of individuals with clinically-determined functional impairments, as well as older adults recruited from the general population.


Results suggest that the questionnaire is a user-friendly instrument for gathering information from older adults about their self-regulatory practices which has good construct validity. Feedback on the questionnaire was positive. Construct validity of the questionnaire was assessed by comparing the recruitment populations along various dimensions on which they might be expected to differ (e.g., self-rated health and functioning, abilities for safe driving, and feelings of driving comfort/safety) and looking for correlations between variables that one would reasonably expect to be correlated.


Overall, participants rated their general health and functioning, and abilities for safe driving quite highly. However, participants from the clinic population rated themselves lower than participants from the general population on several abilities including seeing clearly during the day and night, remembering things, and processing information. While participants reported high levels of driving comfort and safety for most driving situations, the clinic population reported lower levels of comfort and safety for every driving circumstance except driving alone. High correlations were found between comfort and safety and the absolute mean scores were nearly identical for each driving circumstance. Finally, the clinic population was more likely to report trying to avoid driving at night, in unfamiliar areas, and on the expressway, as well as chatting with passengers.


Results of this pilot work provide insights into the self-regulatory driving process that could eventually inform efforts to extend safe mobility among older adults.


Driving avoidance; Mobility; Older drivers; Self-regulatory practices

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