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Anxiety and depression linked to risk-taking in young drivers, Australian study finds

Date:
May 17, 2011
Source:
Queensland University of Technology
Summary:
Young drivers who experience anxiety and depression are more likely to take risks on the road, according to a new study by researchers in Australia. The results of the study led by Bridie Scott-Parker, from QUT's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety -- Queensland, have been published in the international journal Injury Prevention today.

Young drivers who experience anxiety and depression are more likely to take risks on the road, according to a new study by Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The results of the study led by Bridie Scott-Parker, from QUT's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety -- Queensland (CARRS-Q), have been published in the international journal Injury Prevention.

Mrs Scott-Parker said the study of more than 760 young drivers, who were on their provisional licence, found anxiety and depression accounted for 8.5 per cent of the risky driving behaviour reported by these young adults.

"The association was greater in women than in men, with 9.5 per cent being explained by psychological distress in women compared with 6.7 per cent in men," Mrs Scott-Parker said.

"We already know that psychological distress, such as anxiety and depression, has been linked to risky behaviour in adolescents including unprotected sex, smoking and high alcohol consumption.

"What this study sought to do was look at whether or not psychological distress could also be linked to risky driving behaviours in young people, such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile phone while at the wheel."

Mrs Scott-Parker said the research could be used to identify young drivers most at risk of psychological distress and therefore a greater crash risk on the road through risky driving.

"Young people presenting to medical and mental health professionals could be screened for current psychological distress particularly if they have incurred injury through risky behaviour," she said.

"These drivers could be targeted with specific road safety countermeasures and efforts made to improve their mental wellbeing by monitoring them for signs of depression and anxiety."

Mrs Scott-Parker said up until now the relationship between novice risky driving behaviour and psychological distress had not been clearly identified or quantified.

"Identifying at risk individuals is vital," she said.

"Once identified, interventions could be tailored to target particular groups of at-risk drivers and also from a mental health perspective this may result in improved well-being for the adolescent young driver," she said.

CARRS-Q is a member of QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queensland University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bridie Scott-Parker, Barry Watson, Mark J. King, Melissa K. Hyde. The psychological distress of the young driver: a brief report. Injury Prevention, 2011; DOI: 10.1136/ip.2010.031328

Cite This Page:

Queensland University of Technology. "Anxiety and depression linked to risk-taking in young drivers, Australian study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517111240.htm>.
Queensland University of Technology. (2011, May 17). Anxiety and depression linked to risk-taking in young drivers, Australian study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517111240.htm
Queensland University of Technology. "Anxiety and depression linked to risk-taking in young drivers, Australian study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517111240.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

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