The psychological distress of the young driver: a brief report

  • B. Scott-Parker, B. Watson, M. J. King, M. K. Hyde
  • Injury Prevention, May 2011, BMJ
  • DOI: 10.1136/ip.2010.031328

The psychological distress of the young driver: A brief report

What is it about?

Psychological distress (which includes both depression and anxiety) exerts a considerable negative influence across the whole of the adolescent’s life. Road safety-related research seems to suggest, however, that there is no impact upon driving behaviours, which seems counter intuitive based on what we know about psychological distress. Therefore, we wanted to explore the relationship between anxiety and depression and self-reported driving behaviours.

Why is it important?

Overall, psychological distress explained risky driving behaviour, such that participants who reported more depression and more anxiety reported more risky driving behaviours.


Dr Bridie Scott-Parker
University of the Sunshine Coast

To intervene effectively and to improve young driver road safety, we need to consider the young driver as a whole. Young drivers experiencing psychological distress, such as anxiety and depression, report more risky road behaviours, therefore interventions which target their mental health are likely to improve their road safety as well.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Bridie Scott-Parker