Volume 53 Number 6, 2016
Pages 827 — 838
Abstract — Veterans of the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are at an elevated risk of driving-related accidents and fatalities compared with civilians. Combat exposure, military driving training, risk-seeking, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are all factors associated with driving-related risk. However, few empirical studies have observed driving patterns in this population, and the influence of these contributing factors remains unclear. This study utilized a novel self-report measure to assess driving behaviors, driving-related anxiety, and emotional experiences of military Veterans who have returned to civilian driving. This questionnaire was completed by 23 combat Veterans diagnosed with comorbid TBI and PTSD and 10 nondisabled combat Veterans. Drivers with TBI and PTSD reported more frequent high-risk driving behaviors and higher levels of anxiety while driving in certain situations than nondisabled combat Veterans. These preliminary findings highlight the importance of studying on-the-road situations and cues that produce anxiety in Veterans, particularly those with TBI and PTSD. A greater understanding of driving-related anxiety is needed to inform targeted and effective interventions for unsafe driving in Veterans.
Key words: Afghanistan, anxiety, combat, deployment, driving, Iraq, motor vehicle accidents, posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, Veterans.
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