Monday, July 19, 2010


TITLE: Wanna drive? driving anxiety and fear in a New Zealand community sample
AUTHOR: Taylor, J & Paki, D.
JOURNAL: New Zealand Journal of Psychology, July 2008
ABSTRACT: "Driving anxiety can impact everyday functioning and is common following motor vehicle crashes. However, no research has investigated its general community prevalence, despite the consistent finding that driving anxiety is not always a function of a vehicle crash. The present study explored the frequency and characteristics of driving anxiety and fear in a general community convenience sample of 100 participants who completed a questionnaire about driving anxiety, avoidance behaviour, and types of driving-related cognitions. Most of the sample described no anxiety, fear, or avoidance in relation to driving. However, 8% reported moderate to extreme anxiety about driving, and 7% described moderate to extreme driving fear. Women reported more driving anxiety, fear, and avoidance than men. These results indicate the need for more formal methods of establishing prevalence to clearly ascertain the extent of population-based driving anxiety and fear and its effects, so that research can begin to focus on developing effective treatment approaches for those whose anxiety has a psychological and functional impact." [full text]

MY TAKE: This study is trying to find out how common driving anxiety is in the general public.  Moderate to severe anxiety (significant enough to have a noticeable effect on their life) was found in 8% of the sample. I think that would have to be considered a pretty large proportion. As is usually the case driving anxiety was more common in women, although general trait anxiety was the same in both genders. The situations rated as most stressful were being tailgated, motorways, fog and heavy traffic.

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