Poor sense of direction is associated with constricted driving space in older drivers

Kathleen A. Turano, Beatriz Munoz, Shirin E. Hassan, Donald D. Duncan, Emily W. Gower, Karen B. Roche, Lisa Keay, Cynthia A. Munro, Sheila K. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aims of this study were to determine whether perceived sense of direction was associated with the driving space of older drivers and whether the association was different between genders. Participants (1,425 drivers aged 67-87 years) underwent a battery of visual and cognitive tests and completed various questionnaires. Sense of direction was assessed using the Santa Barbara Sense of Direction (SBSOD) scale. Driving space was assessed by both the driving space component of the Driving Habits Questionnaire and log maximum area driven. Analyses were performed using generalized linear models. The SBSOD score was lower in women than in men and significantly associated with log driving area in women but not in men. The SBSOD score also showed a significant association with women's self-reported driving restriction. The findings emphasize the need to explore the role of psychological factors, and include gender, in driving studies and models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-355
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Drivers
  • Driving restriction
  • Driving space
  • Gender
  • Navigational ability
  • Sense of direction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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