Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jan Mutchler

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Dugan

Third Advisor

Lisa J. Molnar


Many older adults would like to age in place. Expectations can be important and valid predictors of whether an older adult actually does remain in place. Along with health declines that may initiate unwanted relocation, additional factors influence expectation and ability to age in place. Driving is an important factor in aging in place. Many issues (e.g., unsafe driving, safety concerns, financial or physical burden of tending to a car, etc.) may lead to voluntary or involuntary driving cessation. Without access to public transit or access to adequate informal caregiver transportation (i.e., rides from family or friends) to reach target destinations, driving cessation may ultimately initiate unwanted relocation to a supportive housing environment or nursing home. An unwanted move may diminish quality of life among older adults and furthermore, aging in place is typically less expensive than moves to supportive housing. The purpose of this dissertation is to evaluate driving status as a factor in expectation to age in place. It also investigates how expectations to age in place as well as driving behaviors differ for older adults along the urbanicity continuum. Additionally, the impact of health status and physical mobility on the relationship between driving and expectation to age in place is examined. These relationships are evaluated using ordered logistic regression. The sample includes 8,046 older adults in the Health and Retirement Study database. Findings from the ordinal logistic regression indicate that non-drivers are significantly more likely to expect to age in place. The relationship between driving and expectation to age in place is not moderated by urbanicity status in the regression results. Driving represents a mediating factor in the link between health and expectation to age in place. Supplemental analyses mirror similar results to the ordinal logistic regression results. Relocation is a process triggered by a series of events and likely preceded by expectation to age in place. There are many factors related to driving and aging place. Though expectations may be a mainspring for planning, understanding what individuals anticipate regarding their future living situation is an important area of study.


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