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Psychological Distress Tied to Risky Driving in Youth

Last Updated: May 23, 2011.

Psychological distress among young novice drivers is linked to risky driving behavior, according to a study published online May 16 in Injury Prevention.

MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Psychological distress among young novice drivers is linked to risky driving behavior, according to a study published online May 16 in Injury Prevention.

Bridie Scott-Parker, from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, and colleagues examined the role of psychological distress in self-reported risky driving of young novice drivers in 761 students, aged 17 to 25 years, with a provisional (intermediate) driver's license. A self-administered online survey incorporating Kessler's Psychological Distress Scale and the Behavior of Young Novice Drivers Scale was used to assess the relationship between their psychological distress and their driving behavior.

The investigators found that 8.5 percent of the increased risky driving behavior of young adults was uniquely explained by psychological distress. Youth who experienced psychological distress reported higher levels of risky driving. Greater association was seen in women than in men, with psychological distress uniquely accounting for 9.5 percent of the variance in women compared to 6.7 percent in men.

"Medical practitioners treating adolescents who have been injured through risky behavior need to be aware of the potential contribution of psychological distress, while mental health professionals working with adolescents experiencing psychological distress need to be aware of this additional source of potential harm," the authors write.

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