Effect of health education on the immune system in older adults
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An experimental study was conducted to determine the effect, if any, health education had on the severity of depression, the health locus of control and immune system measurements. The study population consisted of adults between the ages of 65 and 95, who volunteered for the study, met the study criteria, and attended the Rose Park Senior Citizens' Program in Abilene, Texas. The experimental group consisted of 16 adults and the control group consisted of 15 persons. Participants were assigned to either of the two groups by random assignment. Prior to beginning the study, all participants were given the Beck Depression Inventory and the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control instrument. Additionally, blood samples were obtained from each participant and tested for IgG, IgA, IgM, total white count, absolute white count, lymphocyte percentage, helper/inducer ration, and CD4 lymphocytes. The experimental group participated in classes on a health or safety topic, once a week for eight weeks. The control group participated in regular programing on site. On completion of the eight classes, all instruments were once again administered and blood samples again tested for the immune components. The experimental group demonstrated a significant increase in the mean of the total white count, the mean of the absolute lymphocytes, and the mean of the CD4 lymphocytes leaned in that same direction. The control group demonstrated an increase in the mean of the total white count, an increase in the mean of absolute lymphocytes, and an increase in the mean of CD4 lymphocytes. The experimental group demonstrated the most positive clinical improvement. Upon completion of the study it was determined that the experimental group had shared the information obtained in the classes with those in the control group.