Many older adults suffer driving anxiety, new research finds

Morning Talk 06/11/2018
Photo: Getty.

New collaborative research shows many older New Zealand adults experience driving anxiety.

Researchers from the University of Otago, Massey University and the University of Auckland surveyed 1170 drivers aged 65 and over, and found more than 10 percent endorsed more moderate to extreme levels of anxiety while driving.

Lead author, Dr Joanne Taylor, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Massey University, says the number of older drivers reporting any degree of driving anxiety was higher than in previous research carried out in New Zealand among a younger group of older drivers aged between 55 and 72.

Dr Taylor explains driving anxiety can range from driving reluctance to driving phobia and other types of anxious distress that can impact on functioning.

“Further research is needed to better understand why older drivers experience driving anxiety and how it impacts health and wellbeing as well as driving self-regulation and cessation,” Dr Taylor says.

The study was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Understanding the role of driving anxiety will be explored further as part of a larger prospective cohort study, also funded by the council. 

Listen to the full interview with Dr Joanne Taylor above.

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