Driving cessation and consumption expenses in the later years

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2006 Nov;61(6):S347-53. doi: 10.1093/geronb/61.6.s347.


Objectives: This study examined the association between consumption and driving status among older persons within the context of selected variables, including self-rated health and functional status.

Methods: The data were from the 1998, 2000, and 2002 Health and Retirement Study and the 2003 Health and Retirement Study Consumption and Activities Mail Survey. We conducted Tobit regression analyses on five consumption categories of basic needs (such as food) and higher order needs (such as trips and dining out).

Results: Consumption and driving status were significantly associated, showing that driving cessation was related to a 46% to 63% reduction in spending on trips, tickets, and dining out. Another significant relationship emerged between consumption and having never driven. Driving cessation was minimally related to consumption of basic needs (such as food and clothing) and was more strongly associated with higher order needs (such as trips).

Discussion: The findings demonstrate the association between older people's driving status and consumption, specifically higher order activities. Older persons who drive and, presumably, have more opportunities to go to stores, restaurants, and other outside events, spend more on food, tickets, and dining out than those who cease driving or have never driven. Although the direction of causality remains unclear, these findings have implications for those concerned with alternative transportation resources for older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Economics
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transportation / economics*
  • Transportation / statistics & numerical data*