The Graduate Review


As individuals age, they face a variety of new experiences and transitions. Having to stop driving, due to a medical condition or for some another reason, is one of the many transitions older adults may undergo. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact driving cessation, or giving up driving, has on quality of life in older adults. The developed research questions aimed to observe changes in social relationships and engagement, motivation, and emotional well- being after giving up driving. The study followed a qualitative design and used semi-structured interviews to gain insight into the participants’ experiences. Six participants who were 65 years old or older and gave up driving at least a year ago were recruited to participate. The participants were assigned numbers to keep their identities confidential throughout the entirety of the study; they each completed a one-on-one interview either in person or on Zoom. The interviews consisted of a set of demographic questions followed by questions that were specific to the three research questions developed. Through the use of the NVivo software, the student researcher was able to analyze the transcripts and search for themes within the data. The four major themes identified after analysis were planning ahead, support network, utilization of time, and acceptance and coping. Additionally, utilization of resources was identified as a sub theme within the theme of support network. Findings from this study indicated a mix of both positive and negative experiences following driving cessation. Within all three of the areas examined, there were variations between the participants’ experiences. The results from this study suggest that driving cessation is a major life transition for many older adults and is unique to each individual.

Note on the Author

Megan is pursuing her Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) at Worcester State University. Her thesis was completed in spring 2023 under the mentorship of Dr. Joanne Gallagher Worthley. After receiving her degree, she plans to begin her OT career working with the geriatric population.