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Strategies of adaptation to age-related losses in everyday activities of independent seniors

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Strategies of adaptation to age-related losses in everyday activities of independent seniors

Bourgeois, Sylvie (2001) Strategies of adaptation to age-related losses in everyday activities of independent seniors. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the applicability of the theory of selective optimization with compensation (P. B. Baltes & Baltes, 1990) to the adaptive management of resources in everyday life in old age. The general hypothesis that loss-based selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) use mediated the relationship between personal resource availability and successful aging outcomes was tested by interviewing 101 women and 41 men aged between 66 and 88 years, who were functioning independently in the community. A range of personal resources was assessed and reduced to physical health, cognitive, emotional, and social support composites. A semi-structured interview on changes since mid-adulthood in the performance of 12 everyday activities was conducted in order to measure the use of behavioral strategies to deal with age-related losses in everyday life. Categories of adaptive strategies were qualitatively induced from interview transcriptions and then converted into indices of loss-based selection, optimization, and compensation. Outcome measures of successful aging included everyday functioning, operationalized as the mean frequency of activities, and subjective well-being. Results from path analysis indicated that personal resources were associated with the use of specific SOC processes. Richer physical health resources predicted more optimization, whereas poorer physical health predicted greater loss-based selection and compensation. Poorer social support was related to more loss-based selection, whereas richer social support was associated with greater compensation use. Overall, use of SOC processes played a mediating role in the relationship between resource availability and successful aging outcomes. More loss-based selection was predicted by poorer resource availability and led to lower levels of everyday functioning and subjective well-being. However, availability of resources, especially in the domains of physical health and social support, facilitated adaptive changes of everyday functioning related to optimization and compensation. Thus, invoking the SOC theory as a description of age adjustments of older adults was valuable in the search for a greater understanding of the relationship between resource availability and successful aging outcomes. Knowledge of how use of SOC processes in the context of everyday activities can promote successful aging has implications for individuals working with the elderly.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Bourgeois, Sylvie
Pagination:xi, 240 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:2001
Thesis Supervisor(s):Arbuckle-Maag, Tannis
ID Code:1571
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:20
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:21
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