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A Comparative Study Of Three Methods For Raising Self-Esteem Among The Elderly

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The self-concept of elderly people as a group is generally considered low. Self-concept is negatively influenced by an external source, i.e., cultural regard, and by the internal or personal adaptive changes of the aging process. To age successfully, positive or high concept of self is considered necessary. The literature indicates that self-concept can be changed. This study tested whether involvement in one of three educational processes (class groups) was effective in raising the self-esteem of the elderly participants. The class groups were (1) Current-Events or Job-Preparation, (2) Psychology, and (3) Memory and Relaxation Techniques. A fourth group, not in an educational process, served as a control group. Twenty participants, aged 60 and up, were in each of the four groups. All subjects took a pre-test consisting of a mental-status quiz, a demographics questionnaire and the Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS). All class groups met once weekly for two hours for an eight-week semester. At the end of the semester, all subjects took the TSCS as the post-test. Control group participants were given the same tests at the same time intervals. The Campbell and Stanley Nonequivalent Control Group Design (10) was applied. Null hypothesis 1 stated that there would be no differences in changes of self-esteem scores in any of the groups. Null hypothesis 2 stated that there would be no differences in self-esteem scores among the unlike groups. Analysis of variance of pre-test scores determined that the TSCS scores among the groups were significantly different, and analysis of covariance was then performed on post-test scores. Both null hypotheses were rejected. Further statistical analysis indicated that in only one group (Psychology) had significant change occurred. This educational process was more effective in changing self-esteem scores than were the other processes. Further examination of possible programs which enhance the self-esteem of older persons is recommended.

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