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Among substance-abusing traffic offenders, poor sleep and poor general health predict lower driving skills but not slower reaction times

Authors Abdoli N, Sadeghi Bahmani D, Farnia V, Alikhani M, Golshani S, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Brand S

Received 12 May 2018

Accepted for publication 25 June 2018

Published 9 November 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 557—566


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Nasrin Abdoli,1 Dena Sadeghi Bahmani,1–4 Vahid Farnia,1 Mostafa Alikhani,1 Sanobar Golshani,1 Edith Holsboer-Trachsler,2 Serge Brand1–5

1Substance Abuse Prevention Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran; 2Center for Affective, Stress and Sleep Disorders, Psychiatric Clinics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 3Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Sleep Disorders Research Center, Kermanshah, Iran; 4Isfahan Neurosciences Research Center, Alzahra Research Institute, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran; 5Division of Sport Science, and Psychosocial Health, Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Background: Traffic accidents are a significant health issue in Iran. Explanations for such accidents have included single consideration of the role of poor sleep and negative psychological trait and state variables. In this study, we examined whether and to what extent sleep, general health, and aggression can concomitantly predict driving behavior.
Methods: A total of 360 male traffic offenders (driving under substance use; mean age: 31 years) participated in this study. They completed the questionnaires covering sociodemographic, sleep-related, and behavior-related variables. In addition, their visual and acoustic reaction times were objectively tested.
Results: Poor sleep, poor general health, and higher aggression scores were associated with self-rated poor driving behavior. Poor sleep was directly associated with poor driving behavior and indirectly via poor general health and aggression. In contrast, visual and acoustic reaction times were unrelated to sleep, general health, aggression, or self-rated driving behavior.
Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study in Iran to assess concomitantly poor sleep, poor general health, and higher aggression scores as independent predictors of poor driving behavior among a larger sample of substance-abusing traffic offenders. Furthermore, visual and acoustic reaction times were unrelated to sleep, general health, aggression, and driving behavior. Finally, importantly, poor sleep predicted both directly and indirectly poor driving behavior.

Keywords: driving behavior, sleep, aggression, general health, reaction time

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