User experiences and perspectives of a driving simulator intervention for individuals with acquired brain injury: A qualitative study

Bleydy Dimech-Betancourt, Jennie L. Ponsford, Judith L. Charlton, Pamela E. Ross, Renerus J. Stolwyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Driving a motor vehicle is a common rehabilitation goal following acquired brain injury (ABI). There is increasing interest in the use of driving simulators for driver rehabilitation post-ABI; however, there is still limited research demonstrating efficacy and acceptability. This study sought to examine the user experience of a driving simulator intervention for ABI survivors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 individuals, including 12 ABI survivors (42% male; Mean age = 53.92 years, SD age = 17.63) who completed the intervention, and 2 occupational therapist driver assessors who facilitated the intervention. Thematic analysis was adopted to analyse interview data. Findings suggest that individual differences (e.g., anxiety, previous experience) influenced participant response to training. The intervention allowed participants to practise various driving skills, re-familiarize themselves with the task of driving, and prepare for return to on-road driving within a safe environment. The intervention was perceived to be useful for enhancing driver self-awareness, autonomy, confidence and patience. Fidelity and simulator sickness were considered limitations of the simulator technology. Subjective accounts of the appropriateness of intervention components are also documented. Overall, the simulator intervention was reported to be a positive experience for participants. Themes emerging from this study can inform future driving simulator interventions for ABI survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-796
Number of pages24
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2021


  • Acquired brain injury
  • Driving simulator
  • Qualitative design
  • Rehabilitation
  • Return to driving

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