The Impact of Childhood Symptoms of Conduct Disorder on Driving after Drinking in Adulthood

Author(s): Christine M. Wickens, Robert E. Mann, Evelyn Vingilis, Anca Ialomiteanu, Patricia Erickson, Maggie E. Toplak, Nathan Kolla, Gina Stoduto, Mark van der Maas
Dr. Charles H. Miller Award

Slidedeck Presentation:

3C - Wickens


Aims: Several existing studies suggest that conduct disorder (CD) significantly increases risk of drink-driving behaviour. However, few studies have examined this association using population-level data, and outcomes have typically been assessed only up to age 21 years. Therefore, the current study sought to assess the relationship between symptoms of CD during childhood (before age 15 years) and the risk of engaging in drink-driving behaviour during adulthood, using results of a general population survey in Ontario, Canada.
Methods: Data are based on telephone interviews with 5,299 respondents who reported having driven in the past year. Data are derived from the 2011-2013 cycles of the CAMH Monitor, an ongoing cross-sectional telephone survey of adults aged 18 years and older. A binary logistic regression analysis of drink-driving in the previous 12 months was conducted, consisting of measures of demographic characteristics (sex, age, marital status, education, region), driving exposure, problem alcohol use, symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and childhood (before age 15 years) symptoms of CD.
Results: Controlling for demographic characteristics, driving exposure, problem alcohol use, and symptoms of ADHD, childhood (before age 15 years) symptoms of CD significantly increased the odds of reporting driving after drinking (OR=1.67, p=.05).
Discussion & Conclusions: Results from a general population survey in Ontario suggest that symptoms of CD during childhood are associated with significantly increased odds of driving after drinking in adulthood. These findings add to a growing literature, and could suggest that within treatment for CD special attention should be focused on driver safety. As well, it may be prudent for parents of adolescent drivers experiencing conduct problems to discuss driver safety issues more extensively with their children and to exercise more stringent supervision of their children’s driving. Finally, it may be advisable for remedial drink-driving programs to screen for a history of CD symptoms; specialised curricula may prove more effective for these drivers.