Date of Award

12-17-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Gerontology Institute

First Advisor

Jaye L. Atkinson

Second Advisor

Candace L. Kemp

Third Advisor

MIriam J. Konrad

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a focus group study exploring older individuals' perceptions of older drivers. The study extends the stereotype research of Joanisse, Gagnon, and Voloaca (2012b), further investigating the terms used to describe older drivers. Also explored were the ways older adults perceive age versus health in their considerations of driving. Three focus groups (N=24) were conducted with former and current drivers, 64 years and older, living in Asheville, North Carolina. Participants showed positivity in their descriptions of older drivers as "slow" and "cautious" and believed they adapted their driving behavior as aging demanded. Participants showed heterogeneity in their acceptance of the health issues that threatened their continued driving ability. The importance of context in understanding stereotypes of older adults is illustrated. Results are discussed in terms of ingroup/outgroup theory in line with the proposed model.

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