JOURNAL ARTICLE

Self-reported health and driving cessation in community-dwelling older drivers

Richard V Sims, Ali Ahmed, Patricia Sawyer, Richard M Allman
Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2007, 62 (7): 789-93
17634328

BACKGROUND: Stopping driving has significant negative consequences for older adults, but there is no simple, reliable screening tool to predict driving cessation. We sought to determine if self-rated health (SRH) was an independent predictor of driving cessation among older adults.

METHODS: Data on SRH (poor, fair, good, very good, or excellent), medical diagnoses, physical performance, visual acuity, driving status, and other relevant covariates were collected from 649 community-dwelling older Alabama drivers during in-home interviews. Using multivariable logistic regression analyses, we estimated the association of SRH with driving cessation 2 years later.

RESULTS: Participants had a mean age of 74 years; 43% were women, 41% African American, and 48% rural. Overall, 36% reported poor to fair SRH at baseline, and 11% had stopped driving after 2 years. Compared to 8% of drivers with good to excellent SRH, 17% with poor to fair health stopped driving (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09-3.41; p=.025). Lower Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) scores (adjusted OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.78-0.95; p=.001) and older age (adjusted OR, 1.06 per year; 95% CI, 1.01-1.11; p=.010) were also associated with driving cessation. Receiver operating characteristics curves documented similar predictive discrimination (c statistics) for SRH (0.72), the SPPB (0.70), and a count of comorbidities based on the Charlson Comorbidity Index (0.73).

CONCLUSIONS: Poor to fair SRH predicted incident driving cessation after 2 years in a cohort of older adults. SRH can be easily obtained during clinic visits to identify at-risk drivers.

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