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Posted by Annapaola Prestia (14 settembre 2009) Laboratory of Epidemiology Neuroimaging and Telemedicine, IRCCS Centro San Giovanni di Dio FBF, The National Centre for Research and Care of Alzheimer’s and Mental Diseases, Brescia, Italy

The automobile is the essential, convenient and preferred means of transportation for many older adults. Yet aging for many can make the task of driving more difficult.
In order to compensate for these changes and to continue to drive safely, many older drivers self-regulate their driving, altering or reducing or ceasing it.
This behaviour produces some negative consequences including increased loneliness and depression, reduced social interaction and activities, and loss of independency.
A recent research project called ‘Safe Driving for a Lifetime Project’ was conducted to define whether self-regulation attitudes and patterns differ by gender.
Nine focus groups were conducted on a total of 81 elderly participants to examine issues revolving around the significance of driving, changes in driving habits with age, and self-regulation.
Results indicate that for both women and men self-regulation increased with age, but they report distinct patterns of self-regulation behaviours depending upon the health status and gender: for women the degree of self-regulation increased more sharply than men. The household status has an impact on self regulation among women and not on men. Women report lower levels of confidence in their driving skills than men, although the differences varies based on whether or not a woman lives alone.