Bulgarian Journal of Psychiatry, 2024; 9(1):20-26

Nonverbal intelligence and negative driving outcomes in addicts

Rositsa Racheva, Zornitsa Totkova, Boryan Andreev
Department of Psychology, Institute for Population and Human Studies – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Abstract. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is among the main reasons for road fatalities. The present study investigates the relationship between one of the key cognitive components related to driving behaviour – nonverbal intelligence (NVI) – and driving outcomes in people with addictions. The sample consists of 270 participants equally divided into two groups. The treatment group includes patients with substance use disorders (alcohol and drugs). The control group consists of people from the general population balanced by age and gender with the treatment group. A modification of the Domino logic test is used to measure NVI. Driving outcomes considered as traffic rules violations, traffic accidents and license suspension are self-reported by the participants. Results show that participants with addictions have significantly lower levels of NVI than the representatives from the control group. Results related to driving outcomes reveal that addicts have significantly more serious road traffic accidents and license suspensions than controls. In addition data shows that about half of the addicts with major road accidents and suspended driving licenses have low levels of NVI. Despite the promising results further research is needed to investigate in more details the relation between the NVI and driving outcomes in addicts. Such results can benefit the treatment and rehabilitation of addictions on one hand and the level of road traffic accidents on the other.

Key words: nonverbal intelligence, alcohol and drug addictions, rehabilitation programs, driving outcomes

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