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Worry in late adulthood : developmental perspectives on content, frequency, and worry proneness

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Worry in late adulthood : developmental perspectives on content, frequency, and worry proneness

Basevitz, Paul (2003) Worry in late adulthood : developmental perspectives on content, frequency, and worry proneness. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The goals of this research were to generate a better understanding of worry themes that may be common in late adulthood, to determine the extent to which older adults experience worry and related processes, and to better understand factors associated with worry proneness among seniors. In Study 1, a sample of community dwelling older adults were asked to monitor and to record their worry themes in a seven-day worry diary. Study 2 investigated the hypothesis that older adults would show age-related reductions in worry via both retrospective reports of changes in worrying during adulthood and through cross-sectional age comparisons with a sample of younger adults. This study also sought to determine whether age differences would be evident in processes related to worry including: intolerance of uncertainty, erroneous beliefs in the functional value of worry, a tendency to monitor threat and to interpret ambiguous situations as threatening, and to engage in over-elaborated worry thought sequences. Study 3 investigated the extent to which older adults showing high levels of worry have difficulty adapting their coping efforts when faced with life stressors that are perceived as relatively uncontrollable. The findings showed that health-related worries were the most commonly reported worry themes in late adulthood as evidenced by responses on the worry diary and on a standardized worry checklist. Nonetheless, the worry diary also showed that other commonly reported worries among these older adults were not specifically related to the challenges associated with aging and included concerns about social relationships and everyday activities. Worries about death and loneliness were uncommon. Support was found for the hypothesized age-related reduction in worry frequency in both retrospective reports of the older sample and via cross-sectional age comparisons. Age differences were also observed in worry-related processes including intolerance of uncertainty, erroneous beliefs in the functional value of worrying, and in the tendency to engage in worry thought sequences, each showing reduced frequency among older adults compared with younger adults. Finally, evidence was found that high levels of worry among older adults were associated with difficulty disengaging from problem solving efforts when faced with relatively uncontrollable life stressors. The findings indicate that the developmental course of worry is characterized by both continuities and discontinuities from earlier stages of adult development and suggest a need for more refined research on changes and stability in worry-related processes throughout adulthood.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Basevitz, Paul
Pagination:xv, 298 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:2003
Thesis Supervisor(s):Pushkar, Dolores
ID Code:2244
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:26
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:25
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