Anxiety, depression accounts for risky driving

May 18th, 2011 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 18 (IANS) Young drivers who experience anxiety and depression are more likely to take risks on the road, a study says.

Birdie Scott-Parker, from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), led a study involving more than 760 young drivers, and found that anxiety and depression accounted for 8.5 percent of the risky driving behaviour among them.

“The association was greater in women than in men, with 9.5 percent being explained by psychological distress in women compared with 6.7 percent in men,” the journal Injury Prevention quoted Scott-Parker as saying.

“We already know that psychological distress, such as anxiety and depression, has been linked to risky behaviour in adolescents including unprotected sex, smoking and high alcohol consumption,” she said, according to a Queensland statement.

“What this study sought to do was look at whether or not psychological distress could also be linked to risky driving behaviours in young people, such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile phone while at the wheel.

“These drivers could be targeted with specific road safety counter-measures and efforts made to improve their mental wellbeing by monitoring them for signs of depression and anxiety,” said Scott-Parker.

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