In a study designed to examine the impact that ceasing to drive has on community-dwelling older adults, doctoral student Ms. Carrie Huisingh, associate professor Dr. Emily B. Levitan, and professor and vice chair Dr. Gerald McGwin, in the department of epidemiology at UAB, assessed a diverse sample of participants in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Study of Aging.
“Life-space scores and self-reported driving cessation were assessed at annual visits from baseline through Year 6. Approximately 58 percent of older adults reported having stopped driving during the six years of follow-up,” the researchers noted. “After adjusting for potential confounders, results from a random intercept model indicate that mean life-space scores decreased about one to two points every year (p = .0011) and approximately 28 points at the time of driving cessation (p < .0001). The rate of life-space decline post driving cessation was not significantly different from the rate of decline prior to driving cessation.”
Study findings show that although driving cessation was linked to a steep reduction in life-space scores, it was not associated with an acceleration of the rate of life-space decline.
Co-investigators are associate professor Dr. Patricia Sawyer, assistant professor Dr. Richard E. Kennedy, and associate professor Dr. Cynthia J. Brown, in UAB’s division of gerontology, geriatrics, and palliative care.
“Impact of Driving Cessation on Trajectories of Life-Space Scores Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults” was published in February in the Journal of Applied Gerontology.