Factors influencing driving in older age : an application of the theory of planned behaviour

Mitchell, Rebecca (1998). Factors influencing driving in older age : an application of the theory of planned behaviour. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d38b


This study investigates factors that may be related to dependency on driving and decisions to continue or ceased riving in older age. Some older drivers may be unsafe to drive (Drachman & Swearer, 1993), but are unwilling to cease, this can result in referrals to mental health services. The potential influence of attitudes towards driving on driving behaviour has been highlighted (O'Neill, 1996) but as yet has not been fully investigated.

A questionnaire was developed, based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, to elicit factors which might predict older drivers' intentions to drive more or less often. Reliability was demonstrated for the questionnaire, which was completed by 99 older drivers. The results indicated that the majority of older drivers used their car frequently. Two components of the Theory of Planned Behaviour were demonstrated to predict 73% of the variance in driving behaviour, namely, perceived behavioural control and attitude towards driving. Those drivers who perceived more positive outcomes for driving and less negative outcomes were likely to intend driving more often. Also those drivers with higher levels of perceived behavioural control were likely to intend to drive more often. A self-report measure of actual driving behaviour two to three months later, suggested that behavioural intention was highly related to subsequent driving behaviour. Methodological issues, future research and clinical implications of the findings are discussed. In particular, interventions based on attitude change and problem solving to decrease perceived dependency on the car, may facilitate the process of giving up driving.

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