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Relationships Between Cognitive and Driving Self-Awareness in Older Drivers

  • PAIRE-FICOUT, Laurence
  • LAFONT, Sylviane
  • HAY, Marion
  • COQUILLAT, Amandine
  • Fabrigoule, Colette
  • CHAVOIX, Chantal
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbaa224
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-03097642v1
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Objectives: Many older drivers incorrectly estimate their driving ability. The present study aimed to determine whether, and if so, to what extent unawareness of cognitive abilities affects self-awareness of driving ability. Methods: Two successive studies were conducted. A cohort study investigated cognitive self-awareness and an experimental study examined driving self-awareness in older drivers. In each one, self-awareness was assessed by cross-analyzing objective (respectively Trail-Making Tests A & B and the Digit Symbol Substitution Test and driving performance of on-road assessment) and subjective data (responses about everyday cognitive skills and driving ability). Older drivers were then classified as being over-, correct or underestimators. The three cognitive and driving self-awareness profiles were then cross-analyzed. Results: In the cohort study, 1,190 drivers aged 70 years or older were included. The results showed that 42.7% of older drivers overestimated their cognitive ability, 42.2% estimated it correctly, and 15.1% underestimated it. The experimental study included 145 participants from the cohort. The results showed that 34% of participants overestimated, 45% correctly estimated, and 21 % underestimated their driving ability. There was a significant relationship between cognitive and driving self-awareness profiles (p=0,02). This overlap was more marked in overestimators. Discussion: Significant overlap between cognitive and driving self-awareness provides useful and new knowledge about driving in the aging population. Misestimation of cognitive ability could hamper self-awareness of driving ability, and consequently self-regulation of driving. It is now crucial to develop measures that promote self-awareness of ability.

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