Cumulative Meta-analysis of the Relationship Between Useful Field of View and Driving Performance in Older Adults: Current and Future Implications

CLAY, OLIVIO J. MA; WADLEY, VIRGINIA G. PhD; EDWARDS, JERRI D. PhD; ROTH, DAVID L. PhD; ROENKER, DANIEL L. PhD; BALL, KARLENE K. PhD

Original Article

Purpose. Driving is a complex behavior that requires the utilization of a wide range of individual abilities. Identifying assessments that not only capture individual differences, but also are related to older adults’ driving performance would be beneficial. This investigation examines the relationship between the Useful Field of View (UFOV) assessment and objective measures of retrospective or concurrent driving performance, including state-recorded accidents, on-road driving, and driving simulator performance.

Method. The PubMed and PsycINFO databases were searched to retrieve eight studies that reported bivariate relationships between UFOV and these objective driving measures. Cumulative meta-analysis techniques were used to combine the effect sizes in an attempt to determine whether the strength of the relationship was stable across studies and to assess whether a sufficient number of studies have been conducted to validate the relationship between UFOV and driving performance.

Results. A within-group homogeneity of effect sizes test revealed that the samples could be thought of as being drawn from the same population, Q [7] = 11.29, p (one-tailed) = 0.13. Therefore, the effect sizes of eight studies were combined for the present cumulative meta-analysis. The weighted mean effect size across the studies revealed a large effect (Cohen’s d = 0.945), with poorer UFOV performance associated with negative driving outcomes. This relationship was robust across multiple indices of driving performance and several research laboratories.

Conclusions. This convergence of evidence across numerous studies using different methodologies confirms the importance of the UFOV assessment as a valid and reliable index of driving performance and safety. Recent prospective studies have confirmed a relationship between UFOV performance and future crashes, further supporting the use of this instrument as a potential screening measure for at-risk older drivers.

Departments of Biostatistics (OJC, DLRoth) and Psychology (OJC, VGW, DLRoth, KKB), University of Alabama at Birmingham, Center for Research on Applied Gerontology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama; the Department of Psychology, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama (JDE); and the Department of Psychology, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky (DLRoenker)

Drs. Ball and Roenker own stock in Visual Awareness Inc., which owns the patent for Useful Field of View testing and training software.

Received December 1, 2004; accepted March 2, 2005.

© 2005 American Academy of Optometry