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Dispositional coping, psychological health and aging : comparisons across age and coping profiles

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Dispositional coping, psychological health and aging : comparisons across age and coping profiles

Dalton, Connie (2005) Dispositional coping, psychological health and aging : comparisons across age and coping profiles. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The present study focused on examining the use and efficacy of coping dispositions across age groups, as well as determining how coping processes might operate in conjunction to influence psychological health in older adults. A total of 274 younger adults and 289 older adults completed self-report questionnaires assessing dispositional coping, control beliefs, desire for control, and measures of psychological health and distress. In Part 1 of this study, the relation between four coping dispositions (problem-focused, emotion-focused, social support seeking and avoidance) and psychological health was examined in older and younger adults, using developmental theory as a guiding framework. Results from confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the invariance of a 4-factor model of coping across age groups (Carver et al., 1989). Compared to younger adults, older adults reported using higher levels of problem- and emotion-focused coping, lower levels of social support seeking and similar levels of avoidance. Under low stress conditions, older adults reported higher levels of psychological health than younger adults when using problem-focused coping or social support seeking. Under high stress conditions, older adults reported higher levels of psychological health than younger adults when using emotion-focused coping. In Part 2 of this study, cluster analyses on contingency beliefs and dispositional coping were performed in order to identify different profiles of older adult copers. Results confirmed the existence of four previously identified coping groups in general adult samples and substantiated the differential function of specific coping dispositions across the different coping profiles. More specifically, older adults with strategic coping profiles reported among the highest levels of psychological health, as did older adults with persistent coping profiles. Older adults with more restricted or indiscriminate coping profiles reported the lowest levels of psychological health. These results suggest that the influence of multiple coping strategies must be taken into account when examining the relations between coping and psychological health across different developmental contexts. These findings should facilitate the development of more effective interventions aimed at helping older adults remain healthy and active.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Dalton, Connie
Pagination:x, 163 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Chaikelson, June
ID Code:8298
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:21
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 15:37
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