Driving cessation and mental health in persons with dementia: A preliminary study

Publication Name

Journal of Nursing


Background: The driving safety of persons with dementia (PwD) is an important public-health issue worldwide. Driving is closely related to personal autonomy, self-esteem, and independence. When PwD lose their driving privileges, this may lead to negative effects on mental health. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between driving cessation and mental health in PwD. Methods: A cross-sectional design with convenient sampling was used, Data were collected using structured questionnaires. Participants were all PwDs who were recruited from a medical center in northern Taiwan. Results: A total of 78 PwD were recruited. Two-fifths (41%) of the participants were still driving, with motorcycle the most common vehicle used. The participants who had retired from driving were older, and most did not have a spouse, were less socially active, had a lower mean level of functional ability, and perceived a lower association between driving and quality of life. Driving cessation was found to be positively correlated with age and the instrumental activities of daily living. Depression and anxiety levels in former drivers were higher than in current drivers, although the differences were not significant. Conclusions / Implications for Practice: Among PwD, depression and anxiety is higher in former drivers. It is suggested that a prospective study should be conducted, that driving safety issues for PwD should be addressed in public health education, and that standards of driving safety for PwD should be developed and enacted.

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