Psychological distress and collision involvement among adult drivers



The current study examines the impact of psychological distress on the likelihood of reporting collision involvement in the preceding year. Two measures of psychological distress were obtained from the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12): depression–anxiety and social functioning.

Data are based on the 2002–2004 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Monitor (36 months), a repeated cross-sectional telephone survey of Ontario adults aged 18 and older (n = 4935). Logistic regression analyses were performed on collision involvement within the past 12 months with the measures of depression–anxiety, social functioning and demographic factors as independent variables.

The analyses revealed that the odds of involvement in a collision in the last 12 months were significantly related to the demographic factors of age, location of residence, income, educational level and marital status. After controlling for demographic factors, the odds of collision involvement increased significantly as the depression–anxiety score increased (odds ratio = 1.05 for each unit increase).

These results suggest that higher levels of psychological distress, as indicated by scores on the depression–anxiety scale of the GHQ-12, are associated with higher likelihood of collision involvement in the previous year. Research to understand the link observed here between distress and collision risk in the general population is needed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.