The effect of age, gender and attitudes on self-regulation in driving

Holly Gwyther, Carol Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-regulation in driving has primarily been studied as a precursor to driving cessation in older people, who minimise driving risk and compensate for physical and cognitive decline by avoiding driving in challenging circumstances, e.g. poor weather conditions, in the dark and at busy times. This research explores whether other demographic groups of drivers adopt self-regulatory behaviours and examines the effects of affective and instrumental attitudes on self-regulation across the lifespan. Quantitative data were collected from 395 drivers. Women were significantly more likely than men to engage in self-regulation, and to be negatively influenced by their emotions (affective attitude). A quadratic effect of age on self-regulation was determined such that younger and older drivers reported higher scores for self-regulation than middle-years' drivers. However, this effect was affected by experience such that when experience was controlled for, self-regulation increased with age. Nevertheless, anxious driving style and negative affective attitude were independent predictors of self-regulation behaviours. Results suggest that self-regulation behaviours are present across the driving lifespan and may occur as a result of driving anxiety or low confidence rather than as an effect of ageing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Early online date26 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • driving
  • self-regulation
  • older adults
  • coping strategies


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