Identifying responders to a driving refresher course using neuropsychological tests : an examination of older drivers
Lindstrom, Wendy Elizabeth
Master of Arts
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The older driving population is continuing to increase, and with age comes cognitive and physical changes that may negatively affect driving abilities. Despite the aging process, researchers have found that age is not the only predictor of on-road driving test outcomes. Recently researchers have suggested that overall cognitive functioning may be predictive of overall driving abilities in older drivers. The current study examines the associations between demographics, cognitive abilities, and driving abilities. In addition the current research addresses a novel inquiry into the ability of neuropsychological tests to predict responders to a driving refresher course. Participants consisted of 65 subjects, who held a valid driver’s license, were currently driving, and were between 55 and 86 years of age (31 female, 34 male). Upon completion of a series of neuropsychological tests participants were block randomized into either a driving refresher course group or a waitlist control group. Prior to and following the refresher course or waiting period participants completed a standardized on-road test. Results indicated that age was negatively associated with baseline driving ability but was not associated with overall change in driving scores. Neuropsychological tests were associated with specific baseline driving abilities and change scores. A multiple regression model for overall change in driving ability included baseline ability, age, education, the Motor-Free Visual Perception Test, and the Stroop test and accounted for 35% of the variability in overall change scores.