- 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.