OUR CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

Conducted in collaboration with our partners locally and internationally, the i-Mobile Lab currently houses projects led by our team members across our three pillars.

Cannabis and Driving: Understanding the impact of social media


Driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) is a high-risk behavior common among Canadian youth. This project aims to understand the impact of social media depictions on the DUIC behaviors of young drivers. By doing so, we hope to develop targeted intervention strategies with and for this population.




Advanced Driving Assistance Systems and Parkinson’s Disease: An intervention pilot


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common age-related neurodegenerative disorder that can impact fitness to drive. However, people living with PD who may still have many years of driving ahead face early driving cessation in the absence of adequate strategies to support their driving.

The aim of this pilot project is to determine the preliminary efficacy of advance driving assistance systems on the simulated driving performance of individuals with mild to

moderate PD.




The i-SHIFT study


Shift workers may be awake for extended periods and work/ sleep out of sync with their natural rhythms, resulting in poor quality/quantity of sleep. This in turn can impact their driving. This upcoming project will explore shift workers’ driving history, driving habits, and driving behaviours; and their experiences and perceptions of contextual factors influencing their driving.




#dontdrivehigh: Establishing Youth's Risk Profiles for Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis


With the guidance of a youth collaborative board, and the combined expertise of our team of researchers and collaborators across Canada, this fully online mixed methods study will be the first to investigate youth’s (ages 14 to 24) risk profiles (social and individual determinants) for DUIC. Specifically, we will build on our 2018 Ontario pilot study to conduct a Canada-wide DUIC youth survey, followed by focus groups and interviews in targeted provinces where cannabis use is most prevalent. While overcoming the barriers to in-person contact required by our collective COVID-19 pandemic response, our findings will inform future collaborative youth-centred DUIC interventions. Understanding what influences youth DUIC will enable us to stop it. The voices of youth are needed. The cost, human lives, is unacceptable and avoidable.




Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Determinants of positive driving retirement conversations among older adults and healthcare professionals


More older adults die every year in motor vehicle collisions than any other age group and age-related fitness to drive impairments contribute to their overrepresentation in traffic fatalities. However, driving cessation is correlated with social isolation, increased morbidity, and significant physical and mental health decline among older adults. Thus, driving cessation conversations between older adults and healthcare professionals are extremely sensitive and are often avoided or delayed. As such, the proposed mixed-method study aims to identify the determinants of positive driving cessation conversations. To achieve this, we will collect, analyze, and compare qualitative and quantitative data on the experiences of older adults who no longer drive as per the recommendation of a healthcare professional, and of targeted healthcare professionals to understand their driving cessation conversation experiences and the factors that determine whether they are perceived as positive. This study will be the first to contrast these factors among older adults and healthcare professionals, further positioning occupational therapists as leaders in developing the evidence to support this urgent practice need across professions. Our findings will provide an evidence-based framework to turn disruptive and delayed driving cessation conversations into a positive process of driving retirement planning that is open, gradual, and supported.




#imgonnadoit: Understanding user-generated social media discourse around cannabis and driving


Social media has increased the online connectivity of Canadian youth and amplified their participation in activism and civic life. However, increasing amounts of evidence are documenting the existing relationship between exposure to social media content that depicts risky behaviors and engagement in those risky behaviors offline (e.g., sexting, self-harm, dangerous challenges and pranks, and drug use). A recent survey of Ontario youth conducted by our team revealed that youth perceive their exposure to social media content related to driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) as influential over their DUIC intentions and decisions. If social media has an amplifying or enabling influence in off-line DUIC, then understanding how DUIC is portrayed across social media sites is critical to develop education and prevention efforts. However, the portrayal of DUIC in social media remains unexplored. The overall objective of this project is to examine how social media public discourse portrays DUIC. Specifically, we will: 1) describe patterns and themes of DUIC-related public social media posts across frequently used social media sites among youth (i.e., Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter); 2) identify the sentiment associated with DUIC-related social media content across sites; and 3) compare the frequency and sentiment of DUIC-related social media content across the different social media sites.