Mental Health Risk to Drivers Revealed; Bus Journeys Less Stressful, Research Says

The Journal (Newcastle, England), September 20, 2010 | Go to article overview

Mental Health Risk to Drivers Revealed; Bus Journeys Less Stressful, Research Says


Byline: Katie Hodge

MOTORISTS were revealed yesterday to be facing hidden long-term mental health problems. Dr David Lewis, the psychologist credited with coining the phrase "road rage", warned that stresses such as congestion and delays can raise blood pressure and lead to more serious issues further down the line. However, people who travel by bus can reduce mental stress by up to a third and reap long-term health benefits as well, the University of Sussex researcher reported..

Dr Lewis conducted an experiment with 30 commuters who made identical or similar trips as bus passengers and car drivers.

Each time, he recorded their heart rate and Electro-Dermal Response, which measures changes in the electrical properties of the skin in response to anxiety. The findings revealed average stress levels were 33% lower on bus journeys.

"EDR can be a hidden stress," he said, "it's not as visible as 'white knuckle driving' or audible as road rage.

"This type of stress can have long-term physiological and emotional implications.

Boarding a bus can produce significant long-term health benefits." Alongside the data he recorded, Dr Lewis also asked participants to rank their stress levels for each trip.

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