Masters Thesis Abstract

Mapping a road to driving retirement with the driver who has a diagnosis of dementia:  Enhancing acceptance of the difficult decisions.


Background: Driving is a complex task demanding cognitive and physical skills that can be compromised by dementia. We know that some people are reluctant to accept decisions imposed upon them about the need to stop driving. This study sought to identify decisional support needs to inform strategies which may enhance acceptance of potential driving retirement for drivers with dementia.

 Method: This is a qualitative study of current drivers over 55 and is one of a very few to include the views of people with dementia. Participants were recruited via public notices, a media release and clinical contacts to undertake a two phase unstructured interview process. Data collection consisted of one-to-one and group interviews. Thematic analysis was applied to generate themes and ‘NVivo9’ (2009) was used to manage the analysis.

 Findings: A total of 15 drivers over 55 years (n=15) participated in 20 unstructured interviews (n=20). The participants were both male and female (40 % and 60% respectively) and included 2 people with dementia (n=2). The key themes identified in the findings were: (i) views of trusted people are important; (ii) on-road experiences are the most convincing; (iii) let’s discuss this before my judgement is compromised; (iv) knowing my alternatives would influence my decision; and (v) informative resources that include self-monitoring tools are useful.

 Conclusion: This study contributes important empirical knowledge informed by consumers and potential consumers regarding decisional support for drivers with dementia facing decisions regarding the time to retire from driving. Further quantitative research is recommended to develop and evaluate the efficacy of decisional support strategies for drivers with dementia who may need to address decisional conflict regarding driving retirement.


Catherine Louise Andrew

March 2013

Masters of Science – Research degree thesis

Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health,

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Science,

University of Wollongong NSW Ausrtalia

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