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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An experimental study of factors related to participation in health awareness with seniors between ages of 60 to 75 St. Onge, Anna Marie Antoinette


Society's dramatically mounting population of Seniors is creating a demand to increase our knowledge of senior health program participation and of what promotes 'Healthy Aging'. This thesis is concerned with factors that affect seniors' participation in health promoting programs. There are two distinct aspects to this study, one is an experiment and the other is a survey. The experiment component of the thesis predicts that potential program participants' giving advice on a projected program topic, more than giving information will increase self-esteem, internal locus of control and thus program participation. The survey aspect of the thesis is designed to discover other factors which affect participation and health concerns. The project deals with psychological constructs such as locus of control, self-esteem and life satisfaction put to the use of social work concerns such as increasing program participation, health awareness and resource use. One hundred and twenty persons aged 60-75 were randomly selected from the files of Matsqui-Abbotsford Community Services and randomly assigned to 3 groups of 40 persons each. Group 1 & 2 were administered Wallston & Wallston & DeVallis' Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales and Rosenbergs’Self-Esteem Scale before and after the two experimental interventions of giving advice or information on the same health topics. Both groups also responded to Diener & Emmons & Larsen & Griffin's Life Satisfaction Scale, Chapin's Organizational Participation Scale and some questions about family, friends, smoking, health and demographics. Group 3, the control group, was not interviewed. After regular intervals all groups were invited to participate in three progressively involving 'Healthy Aging' pursuits. Statistical analysis does not support the hypothesis that giving advice increases self-esteem, life satisfaction, participation or 'internality' of health locus of control. Participation in formal organizations correlates with other forms of sociability and knowledge about prevention, while smoking co-relates positively with social isolation. Health internality is associated with greater self-reported health, life satisfaction, more contact with family and not associated with sociability outside of the home.

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