Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Older adults encounter many changes as they age, both cognitively and physically. These changes tend to impact one's mobility in terms of driving ability and exposure. It has been well documented that this population is increasing in number (Lyman, Ferguson, Braver, & Williams, 2002) and that they pose a higher crash risk than a younger population (Braver & Trempel, 2004; Dellinger, Kresnow, White, & Seghal, 2004; Tavris, Kuhn, & Layde, 2001). These cognitive and physical changes combined with increased crash risk lead a number of drivers to reduce the amount that they dri\ c or cease dri\ ing altogether, thereby limiting their independence. Some studies ha\e examined the domains on w hich these changes occur and have found that various medical conditions, cognitiv e deficits, and physical limitations lead to these changes in driving habits (Ball, Ow sley, Stalvey, Roenker, Sloane & Graves, 1998; Lyman, McGwin. & Sims, 2001). The present study sought to replicate a structural equation model proposed by Vance, Roenker, Cissell, Edwards, Wadley, and Ball (in press) in which it was found that a particular battery of tests (GRIMPS and UFOV) was predictive of both increased avoidance of certain situations and decreased exposure. Specifically, they found that the latent constructs of health and cognitive function were predictive of both exposure and avoidance. However, physical function appeared to make no contribution. The current study attempted to replicate this model on a sample ( N = 299) that participated as part of the driver's licensing process at three Motor Vehicle Administration sites in Maryland. It was found that this sample did decline over time in the areas of health, physical, and cognitive functionn. Also, they reduced the amount of driving that they did and increased their avoidance of many situations. However, the structural equation model for this sample found the latent construct of physical functioning to be the only significant predictor of driving avoidance and exposure.



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