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An examination of regret as expressed in the life reflections of older adults : predictors of regret intensity and frequency, and association with well-being

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An examination of regret as expressed in the life reflections of older adults : predictors of regret intensity and frequency, and association with well-being

Isenberg, Connie (2007) An examination of regret as expressed in the life reflections of older adults : predictors of regret intensity and frequency, and association with well-being. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study focused on the experience of regret in older adults as expressed within the context of a life history framework, using quantitative and qualitative methods. The goals were to explore the differential impact of demographic, personality, dispositional and other relevant variables on frequency and intensity of lifespan regret, the impact of both intensity and frequency of regret on psychological and physical well-being of older adults, to examine regret themes and dimensions of regret as derived from an in-depth life history interview and on the basis of qualitative data, to arrive at high- and low-regret profiles that may indicate proneness to regret. This study was the first to use a lifespan-interview measure of regret with older adults as well as the Big Five and several dispositional variables, autobiographical memory and values as predictors of intensity and frequency of regret, and to control these variables in examining the impact of regret on well-being. In Phase 1 of the study, 111 older adults participated in a Life Reflection Interview that yielded measures of intensity and frequency of regret, emergent values, quality of experience of aging and physical well-being. They also completed a battery of self-report questionnaires assessing personality, dispositional optimism, intolerance of uncertainty, depression and happiness. In Phase 2, a subsample of 71 participants completed measures assessing dispositional coping, perceived control and perceived autobiographical memory. The findings show that relatively healthy, educated older adults do not have high levels of regret, that predictors of intensity and frequency differ, that more variance in intensity compared to frequency of lifespan regrets is explained by the variables, and that regret does predict indicators of psychological but not physical well-being. The results suggest that the methodology used facilitates the measurement of self-defined regret by evoking a spontaneous expression of feelings. Future research should examine if the interview process may contribute to the working through of negative life experiences by providing an opportunity for the sharing and discussion of regrets with an interested and involved listener. Research should also focus on the identification of older adults who may be at risk.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Isenberg, Connie
Pagination:xi, 239 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:2007
Thesis Supervisor(s):Pushkar, Dolores
ID Code:975597
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:11
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:40
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