Does In-home Social Engagement Mitigate Depressive Symptoms after Driving Reduction or Cessation?

TitleDoes In-home Social Engagement Mitigate Depressive Symptoms after Driving Reduction or Cessation?
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBrown, KM
Academic DepartmentGerontology
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages101
Date Published2018
UniversityMiami University
CityOxford, OH
KeywordsDepressive symptoms, driving cessation, driving reduction, Gender Differences, Older Adults, social engagement
Abstract

Driving offers people a sense of independence, the ability to connect with other people, and access to goods and services. Yet, many older Americans reduce or cease driving each year, with detrimental effects. Previous studies have shown associations between driving cessation, decreased social engagement, increased numbers of depressive symptoms, and mortality. Little information examines driving reduction and social engagement. Role theory and stressors occurring during life transitions may provide a theoretical understanding of these outcomes.This study uses four administrations of Health and Retirement Study survey data to determine whether driving reduction and/or cessation are associated with increased numbers of depressive symptoms or decreased levels of social engagement that takes place away from the home setting. Additionally, this study examines the effects of driving reduction and cessation on depressive symptoms when considering levels of social engagement that may occur within the home setting and aims to determine if in-home social engagement mitigates depressive symptoms after driving reduction or cessation. Finally, this study considers males and females separately to determine if gender differences occur.Results indicated that depressive symptoms increase and away from home social engagement decreases after driving reduction, but not cessation, for both men and women. When factoring in at-home social engagement, depressive symptoms still increase after driving reduction, but not cessation. Additionally, when considering the direct and interactive effects of in-home social engagement on depressive symptoms after driving reduction or cessation, mitigating effects of in-home social engagement were not evident.These results suggest that practitioners may wish to allocate resources to extend the safe driving careers of older adults and provide transportation to older adults who reduce or stop driving. Given these results, increasing in-home social engagement is, unfortunately, not a promising approach to mitigating depressive symptoms after driving reduction or cessation. Future research may include a wider variety of measures of social engagement, driving reduction, and cessation. Additionally, future research may enhance the understanding of factors that may mitigate depressive symptoms after driving reduction or cessation. Ultimately, such research may provide answers to enhance the quality of life for older adults who reduce or cease driving.

URLhttp://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=miami1532348747212058
Citation Key10242