Relationship of significant others to health of elderly individuals

Date

1979-08

Authors

Joyce, Barbara

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the significant others and the health status of elderly individuals and to determine whether or not there was a relationship between the presence of significant others and the health of elderly individuals. Self-actualization was used as a measure of health, as indicated by the scores of the Personal Orientation Inventory. The following hypotheses were examined:

There is no significant relationship between the number of significant others and elderly persons’ health, as measured by the self-actualization scales of the Personal Orientation Inventory. There is no significant relationship between the number of contacts with significant others and elderly persons’ health, as measured by the self-actualization scales of the Personal Orientation Inventory.

The sample was comprised of thirty participants from a Federally subsidized senior citizen’s center located in a large city. The majority of the participants were caucasian and sixty-five years of age or older. Each participant was interviewed to determine demographic data, the number of significant others and the number of contacts with significant others. Each participant also completed a Personal Orientation Inventory to determine a self-actualization score.

Demographic data were summarized according to the frequency of responses, primarily for descriptive purposes. For the purpose of analysis the three scores: number of significant others, number of contacts with significant others and the self-actualization scores were subjected to the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. Correlation was utilized to describe the direction and degree of relationship between the variables. The Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient was subjected to a critical z-test to examine the significance of the correlation.

The relationship between the number of significant others and the self-actualization score was positive. The relationship between number of contacts with significant others and the self-actualization score was also positive. The null hypotheses were both rejected.

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Keywords

Elderly, Health, Significant relationships

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