Publication Details

Taylor, J., Deane, F. P. & Podd, J. (2008). The Relationship Between Driving Anxiety and Driving Skill: A Review of Human Factors and Anxiety-Performance Theories to Clarify Future Research Needs. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 37 (1), 28-37.


This article examines theory and identifies gaps in research related to the role of driving skills in driving anxiety. Increasingly, investigators have examined the clinical features of driving anxiety and the more severe situation of driving fear and phobia, but the possible involvement of driving skills has been neglected. This is surprising given the potential implications for skills training and remediation in the assessment and treatment of some of those who experience driving anxiety, fear, and phobia. The largest body of relevant research comes from the driving and human factors literature on the relationship between anxiety and driving performance. The main theories addressing the relationship between anxiety and performance are examined, with specific attention to studies that have applied theoretical models to the driving situation. The paper identifies the need for further research regarding the relationship between driving skills and performance for individuals reporting driving anxiety. The implications for assessment and treatment are outlined, such as the role of driving task characteristics in planning exposure therapy.