Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 50 Number 4, 2013
   Pages 463 — 470

Abstract — Driving simulator performance of Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

Melissa M. Amick, PhD;1–2* Melissa Kraft, PsyD;1 Regina McGlinchey, PhD1,3

1Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA; 2Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA; 3Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA; and Department of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Abstract — Driving simulator performance was examined in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) Veterans to objectively evaluate driving abilities among this cohort who self-report poorer driving safety postdeployment. OIF/OEF Veterans (n = 25) and age- and education-matched civilian controls (n = 25) participated in a 30 min driving simulator assessment that measured the frequency of minor, moderate, and severe driving errors. Frequency of errors in specific content domains (speed regulation, positioning, and signaling) was also calculated. All participants answered questions about number of lifetime traffic –warnings,– moving violation tickets, and accidents. Veterans completed the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Checklist–Military Version. On the driving simulator assessment, Veterans committed more minor, moderate, severe, and speeding errors and reported poorer lifetime driving records than the civilian control group. Exploratory analyses revealed an association between increasing errors on the driving simulator with increasing symptoms of PTSD, although statistically this correlation did not reach significance. These findings suggest that Veterans perform more poorly on an objective evaluation of driving safety and that the presence of PTSD could be associated with worse performance on this standardized driving simulator assessment.

Key words: accident, activity of daily living, deployment, military, motor vehicle, OIF/OEF, posttraumatic stress disorder, reintegration, safety, virtual reality.

View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 50, No. 4
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Amick MM, Kraft M, McGlinchey R. Driving simulator performance of Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(4):463–70.

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