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Here's How Mental Health Issues Can Affect Your Driving Skills

Mental health disorders are associated with increased errors in a driving simulator and self-reported risky driving behaviors in teenagers.

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Teenage drivers aged between 16 and 19 are more likely to get into fatal accidents

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Mental health symptoms are related to ADHD
  2. Mental health disorders are linked to more errors in driving simulators
  3. Teenage drivers are more likely to get into fatal car accidents

Mental health symptoms are related to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, and mental health disorders are associated with increased errors in a driving simulator and self-reported risky driving behaviors in teenagers. According to a research conducted in the University of Pennsylvania, teenage drivers aged between 16 and 19 are more likely to get into fatal accidents than their older counterparts.

The researchers also conducted questionnaires about depressive symptoms and another about their driving behaviors on the road, such as a tendency to speed use of cell phones, and the number of passengers they carried. In conjunction, parents assessed their child for ADHD symptoms and other mental-health problems.

During the experimental drives, the researchers exposed the teens to different crash scenarios like a rear-end collision or a hidden hazard, for instance--avoidable if they drive safely. By the end of the simulated assessment, they were conferred to 21 potential crash situations. The researchers analyzed the simulator data on a variety of the participants' actions, including how they behaved at stimulated stop signs, in which lane they drove, where they looked on the road, and how they applied the brake in potentially dangerous circumstances.


"Inattention was associated with more errors in the simulator, and self-reported symptoms of hyperactivity and conduct disorder were related to more self-reported risky driving behaviors. We would like to learn more about the relationship of mental-health symptoms to driving behavior in a sample with higher rates and severity of ADHD" said a researcher.

The findings are published in the journal Nursing Research. 



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