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Holding on and letting go: the perspectives of pre-seniors and seniors on driving self-regulation in later life

Holding on and letting go: the perspectives of pre-seniors and seniors on driving self-regulation in later life

Canadian Journal on Aging 25(1): 65-76

Although decisions related to driving are vital to well-being in later life, little is known about how aging drivers who do not experience a medical condition that requires driving cessation regulate their driving. This exploratory, qualitative study used focus groups with 79 such community-dwelling individuals to examine driving self-regulation from the perspective of pre-senior (aged 55-64) drivers, senior (aged 65 years or over) drivers, and senior ex-drivers. Themes resulting from inductive analysis addressed the importance of driving, mechanisms of self-monitoring and self-regulation, people who influenced decision making, and opinions regarding licensing regulations. A preliminary model of the process of self-regulation that highlights intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental influences on why, how, and when aging drivers adapt or cease driving is presented. The model identifies areas for future research to enhance understanding of this process, including the effectiveness of self-regulation. Findings suggest that increased public awareness of issues related to driving and aging could assist aging drivers, their families, and their family physicians in optimizing driving safety for this population. Since a near accident or accident was seen as the only factor that would lead many informants to stop driving and few informants planned for driving cessation, there is a need for interventions that help aging drivers make the transition to ex-driver in a timely and personally acceptable way.

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Accession: 049235124

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PMID: 16770749

DOI: 10.1353/cja.2006.0031

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