Self-concept powerlessness, and life satisfaction among institutionalized and non-institutionalized elderly people



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The purpose of this thesis is to assess the differences in self-concept, powerlessness, and life satisfaction between institutionalized and non-institutionalized elderly people. In addition to type of residence, it attempts to locate other correlates of these variables, such as social interaction and religiosity. Questionnaires were distributed to the residents of six nursing homes in the Houston area, representing the institutionalized, and to the residents of a public housing project, representing the non-institutionalized. Self-concept is measured by the Twenty-Statements Test, which requests the subjects to respond to the question 'Who am I?' The degree of powerlessness is assessed by a twelve item forced-choice scale measuring one's tendency towards internal or external control (I-E Scale). Data on the other variables were gathered through the responses to other questions on the questionnaire. The findings indicate that two of the major hypotheses of the study, those proposing differential self-concepts and feelings of powerlessness between the two groups, are not upheld. With respect to life satisfaction, there is found to be a notable difference. An examination of the correlates of these variables reveal that, in general, both social interaction and religiosity are critically important for life satisfaction, and that religiosity is directly related to 'powerfulness' or feelings of personal control. Self-concept, in general, is found to be unrelated to the various independent variables. In terms of the frequency of responses to the TST, the most significant finding is the low number of responses in the category representing social roles.



Older adults, Nursing homes