The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Driving Behavior among Young Adults with and without ADHD

McDermott Team Pic

From left: Jennifer M. McDermott (psychology), Shannon C. Roberts (mechanical and industrial engineering) and graduate students Adaeze Egwuatu (driver seat) and Yalda Ebadi (passenger seat).

Young drivers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is characterized by difficulties with attention, impulsivity, and risk-taking behavior, are known to be at an increased risk for traffic crashes. Assistive driving technology may be especially helpful, or harmful, in supporting driving performance among these individuals. The objective of the proposed study is to assess the correspondence between distinct attention profiles among vulnerable young drivers and the usefulness of specific types of assistive driving technology. This work is relevant to the mission of IDS as: (1) there is disparity in the driving outcomes of individuals with and without ADHD, (2) there is diversity in how individuals with ADHD attend to environmental cues, and (3) the research will result in informed design and use of technology that is inclusive of all young drivers.

Results obtained from this research will be published in journal articles and used as preliminary work for larger grant submissions to the NSF Cyber Human Systems division and the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Additionally, we will disseminate findings from this study to local community education leaders and parents who train youth in safe driving techniques.

In 2020, as they were completing this project, Professors Roberts and McDermott were awarded a SAFER-SIM to conduct further research on this topic. The project team also included graduate students Abigail Helm (psychological & brain sciences), Adaeze Egwuatu (psychological & brain sciences), Christina Hogan (psychology), and Yalda Ebadi (industrial engineering & operation research). Read more.

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