Mental Health Issues Linked to Risky Driving in Newly Licensed Teens
Mental health symptoms such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder are associated with more frequent errors in a driving simulator and self-reported risky driving behaviours in adolescents, according to a study published by Wolters Kluwer.
“Inattention is associated with more errors in the driving simulator, and self-reported symptoms of hyperactivity and conduct disorder are independently associated with self-reported risky driving behaviours,” says lead author Dr. Catherine C. McDonald of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Mental health issues could contribute to accidents in newly licensed adolescent drivers, the study says.
The teens were also assessed on a measure of mental health symptoms, with reference to three conditions linked with risky driving: ADHD, conduct disorder, and depression. Parents also filled out a questionnaire about their teens’ mental health. The self-report filed by the teens on inattention was the only mental health symptom to be related to errors on simulator assessment. The study reported that the higher the score for inattention, as rated by the teens themselves, the higher the rate of driving performance errors. Teens who had higher self-rated scores for hyperactivity/impulsivity and conduct disorder also scored higher for risky driving behaviours.