Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Volume 5, 1985: by M. Powell Lawton PhD, George Maddox PhD

By M. Powell Lawton PhD, George Maddox PhD

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For example, Fawcett et al. (1980) studied elderly women in two homes for the aged where the women in one home had been institutionalized for a much greater number of years on the average than subjects in the second home. Internality was found to be positively related to life satisfaction in the home where there was a shorter average length of institutionalization, but was unrelated to satisfaction in the second setting. In a multiple regression analysis predicting life satisfaction scores, perceived institutional constraint accounted for more variance than locus of control scores.

Movies, contests, socializing with staff, seeing friends), in comparison to the group whose feelings of personal control were not explicitly enhanced. These results have been replicated in two other studies (Banziger & Roush, 1983; Mercer & Kane, 1979). Rodin and Langer (1977) found that most of these group differences remained at 18 months following the intervention. Additionally, during this 18-month period the "responsible" patients showed a significantly greater improvement in health; in fact, only 15 percent of the "responsible" group died within this time, compared to 30 percent of the "nonresponsible" group.

Rodin and Langer (1977) suggested that, because different floors in the nursing home were assigned to different experimental conditions, the probability was enhanced that patterns of interaction among residents and staff members would be affected. In addition, as Ransen noted, Langer and Rodin's agent of change was a full-time member of the institution, and the target behaviors involved many aspects of the setting. By contrast, the agents of change in Schulz's study were outsiders—the student visitors—and the visits were the only target behaviors.

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