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Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gary Howells

First Committee Member

Deborah Schooler

Second Committee Member

Therese West

Abstract

Most humans aspire to live long, healthy lives. It has been assumed that one's length and quality of life were primarily determined by genetics; it is now believed that aging is influenced more by factors within an individual's control. This study sought to identify the factors consistently related to successful aging. Relationships between various participant demographic variables were examined in relation to a) a general quality of life index, b) a geriatric-specific quality of life index tailored to include items believed to more closely associate with successful aging, and c) participants' subjective ratings of aging "success". English-speaking individuals over the age of 60 were recruited as participants from community centers and senior housing communities. The hypothesis that the correlation between the QLI-G40 total score and the subjective rating of aging success ( r = .59) would be more strongly positive than the correlation between the QLI-GEN-III total score and the subjective rating of aging success ( r = .55), was not supported. A Fisher's r -to- z transformation, which resulted in a Fisher's z -score of .36 ( p = .719), showed that the difference between these two independent Pearson's correlations was not statistically significant. It was also found that the "Control" domain of the geriatric-specific QLI (items related to health, health-limitation perception and autonomy/independence) was most strongly correlated with subjective ratings of aging success. Future researchers should administer multiple questionnaires over several sessions to establish concurrent validity with existing measures in the continued development of a geriatric-specific QLI. Future research should continue to emphasize the use of subjective assessments, as there is a great deal of behavioral variation among those aging well into late life.

Pages

85

ISBN

9781124523576

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