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Giving up driving: does social engagement buffer declines in mental health after driving cessation in older women?

  • George W. Rebok (a1) and Vanya C. Jones (a2)

Many older adults consider driving as essential to maintaining their quality of life and independence, and this may be particularly true for individuals residing in more rural areas where transportation options may be limited. Although it is normative for individuals to eventually stop driving as they age, very few plan ahead for their driving retirement (Curl et al., 2014). The process of driving cessation has been associated with a host of negative consequences for physical and mental well-being, including increased depressive symptoms, reduced network of friends, lower activity levels, and accelerated health decline (Mezuk & Rebok, 2008; Edwards et al., 2009; Curl et al., 2014). Previous studies have found that, at all ages, women are more likely to stop driving in later life than men, and often stop driving prematurely, and that various factors such as education and marital status influence the likelihood of cessation differently for women and men (Ross et al., 2009; Choi et al., 2012). Thus, factors associated with driving cessation and its consequences for older women are important to understand, particularly factors that might help buffer the negative effects of giving up driving and that might serve as early targets for preventive interventions.

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S. Chihuri et al. (2016). Driving cessation and health outcomes in older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 64, 332341.

A. L. Curl , J. D. Stowe , T. M. Cooney and C. M. Proulx (2014). Giving up the keys: how driving cessation affects engagement in later life. The Gerontologist, 54, 423433.

B. Mezuk and G. W. Rebok (2008). Social integration and social support among older adults following driving cessation. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 63, S298–303.

L. Ross et al. (2009). Older drivers in Australia: trends in driving status and cognitive and visual impairment. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 57, 18681873.

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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
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