The impact of subclinical sleep problems on self-reported driving patterns and perceived driving abilities in a cohort of active older drivers
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The present study sought to investigate the influence of subclinical sleep disturbances on driving practices and driver perceptions in a large cohort of healthy older drivers. Participants from the Candrive II prospective cohort study were investigated. Self-reported measures of sleep problems were used to determine the influence of sleep disturbance on self-reported driving practices and perceived driving abilities, as measured by the Situational Driving Frequency, Situational Driving Avoidance, and Perceived Driving Abilities scales. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to estimate whether mild self-reported sleep problems were predictive of driving restrictions and perceived abilities, while controlling for a variety of health-related factors and demographic variables known to mediate sleep problems or to impact driving. Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Candrive II study suggests that subclinical sleep problems do not significantly influence self-reported driving patterns or perceived driving abilities in older drivers once control variables are considered. The relationship between sleep problems, driving frequency, avoidance and perceived abilities is better explained by mediating demographic, health, and cognitive factors. Further research examining sleep disturbances and driving should include objective measures of driving practices (exposure, patterns) and outcomes (crashes, violations) and should take in consideration the severity of sleep problems.
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