An analysis of ecological indices and leisure participation with selected dimensions of self-concept among the elderly Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/pr76f659x

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  • The primary focus of this investigation was to assess whether or not selected ecological indices and leisure preferences demonstrated statistically significant relationships with the aged's self-concept. Gerontology, a relatively embryonic discipline, has only recently begun to examine the impact of demographic, physical and socio-psychological stresses upon the geron's self-concept. Even less attention has been given to exploring the potential of the elderly's leisure patterns towards the reduction, maintenance or enhancement of self-concept. It was this sparsity of; evidence that served as the impetus for this present investigation. Subjects for this study involved both men and women who were members of Little House, a senior citizen activity center located in Menlo Park, California. Among the members randomly selected, a total of 112 senior citizens completed all test instruments. A profile of the sample clearly suggests that the homogeneity of the sample neutralizes certain extraneous variables, while, at the same time, reducing any possible generalizations from the findings. The data were collected through the administration of two test instruments: the Ecological Indices Leisure Participation questionnaire (EILP), specifically developed for this study and the Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS). Through the use of the EILP, a composite of several instruments, data were gathered on ecological indices currently considered as possible influences upon levels of selfconcept. The administration of the TSCS--a 100 item, self-descriptive instrument--served to establish a profile of the selected dimensions of self-concept. For purposes of this study, the dimensions of self-concept were limited to the instrument's major external references of Physical Self, Moral-Ethical Self, Personal Self, Family Self, Social Self, Total Self and Self Criticism. Using multiple regression analysis and t-tests as the primary statistical models, it was possible to establish a regression model for each of the seven dimensions of self-concept. In addition, statistical comparisons were made among members displaying contrasting leisure patterns. A total of 11 factors, measured by the EILP, were statistically significant (.05) in explaining increased or decreased mean scores on the seven TSCS scales. Perceived health, income, confinement to bed, frequency of visits with neighbors and relatives and the member's activity level at Little House each appeared in two or more of the final regression models. Other significant variables, appearing less frequently, were: age, marital status, employment status of the respondent's spouse and involvement in community activities. Upon examining the contrasting leisure patterns of subjects, only one factor exceeded the .05 confidence level. Specifically, new members of one year or less demonstrated significantly higher mean scores on Personal Self than their long-term counterparts of six years or more. Although the remaining comparisonsintensity of participation, contrasting activity areas and breadth of involvement--did not exceed the predetermined confidence levels, certain trends were noted. For example, subjects engaged in community or social activities consistently reflected higher mean scores when compared to the total sample population. Short-term members also accounted for higher TSCS mean scores when compared to the long-term members. In terms of intensity of activity, the more active Little House members displayed higher levels of self-concept than the less active member who attended Little House an average of less than one hour per week. Finally, the frequency distributions of several significant ecological indices, identified through regression analysis, were significantly different among groups displaying different leisure patterns. That is, higher TSCS means occurred among several groups even though their profiles suggested a reduced level of self-concept. Thus, controls for such influences, through the use of selective sampling procedures and larger sample populations, would allow for a more accurate appraisal of the relationship between the elderly's leisure preferences and patterns and his self-concept.
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