A new approach to assessing self-regulation by older drivers : development and testing of a questionnaire instrument.
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A new approach to assessing self-regulation by older drivers : development and testing of a questionnaire instrument.

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      Appropriate self-regulation of driving; that is, adjusting one’s driving patterns by driving less or avoiding specific situations in which one feels unsafe or uncomfortable, shows considerable promise as a strategy for compensating for functional declines and enabling older drivers to extend the time period over which they can safely drive. However, there is considerable variation across studies on self-regulation, making it difficult to determine the extent of selfregulatory practices by older drivers. The purpose of this project was to improve our understanding of the process of self-regulation by older drivers and how it relates to important driver characteristics including sex, confidence in driving ability, and functional abilities by: 1) developing a computer-based questionnaire instrument for use by jurisdictions in the United States and elsewhere to measure, in a comprehensive manner, the self-regulatory practices employed by older drivers; and 2) pilot testing the instrument with a sample of older drivers comprised of individuals with clinically-determined functional impairments in vision, cognition, or psychomotor ability, as well as normally functioning older adults recruited from the general population. Feedback on the computer-based questionnaire instrument was positive, with most participants considering the questions easy to read and understand (98.5% and 89.1%, respectively) and finding the length to be reasonable (93.4%). Most (91.2%) were satisfied with the computer format, despite the fact that only 11% described their level of experience with computers as high. Older participants were less satisfied with the computer format, although satisfaction was still high (81.6%). Overall, almost three-quarters of participants reported that if given a choice, they would prefer to take the questionnaire on a computer. Results indicate that overall, participants reported few life-goals changes with the exception of buying a different vehicle in the past year. Sizable numbers of participants reported that they try to avoid a variety of specific driving circumstances (e.g., driving at night, in rush hour traffic, in bad weather, and at night in bad weather). Many planned out their trips ahead of time or reduced overall travel by combining trips. A majority tried to avoid in-vehicle distractions with the exception of changing radio stations. Very few reported having made modifications to their vehicles during the past year to make driving easier. Differences by sex, recruitment population (general versus clinic), and age group are discussed.
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