Teens and young adults with mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, are 30 percent less likely to obtain their driver’s license than peers without such conditions, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) also found that youths with mood disorders experienced a slightly elevated risk of crashing.

The Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at CHOP has been conducting research for the past several years on adolescents and young adults with neurodevelopmental differences and mental health conditions and the challenges they face prior to and following licensure.

The latest study identified 89,074 patients in CHOP’s health care network who were born from 1987 through 2000 and linked their electronic health data with New Jersey driver licensing and crash data. They followed 1,879 youths with mood disorders and 84,294 youths without a mood disorder who were age-eligible for licensure to determine the associations between mood disorders and driver’s licensure and other driving outcomes.

In addition to being less likely to acquire a license compared with their peers, young drivers with mood disorders in the study also had slightly higher overall crash rates at both 12 and 48 months (16 percent and 19 percent higher, respectively) after obtaining their license.

Additionally, young drivers with mood disorders were more likely to experience increased rates of at-fault crashes, night crashes, alcohol-related crashes and moving violation citations. Young drivers with mood disorders had nearly double the rate of license suspensions compared to peers without mood disorders.

“Our results indicate that newly licensed youths with mood disorders have a greater risk of crashing than other young drivers but that this is a manageable risk,” said senior study author Allison Curry, associate professor of Pediatrics at CIRP at CHOP.

“Our findings point to the need to develop evidence-based training and education for adolescents and young adults with mood disorders who want to drive.”