Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Aging Studies

Major Professor

Victor Molinari, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Cathy McEvoy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lisa M. Brown, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jerri Edwards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Denise Gammonley, Ph.D.

Keywords

transition, long-term care, older adults, relocation, life satisfaction

Abstract

Adjustment to assisted living does not always proceed smoothly, making it imperative to identify predictors of transition difficulties, such as personality factors. The sample for this cross sectional study included 64 older adults from ten assisted living communities in the southeast. The primarily white, well-educated, and female sample had an average age of 86 years. Correlation was used to examine relationships between individual personality factors (neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) and adjustment. Factor analysis determined both the predictor variables and outcome variables for inclusion in regression analyses. The regression analyses examined the predictive capacity of personality relative to other associated indicators on adjustment. Hermeneutic phenomenological analysis of responses to an open-ended question regarding subjective adjustment was also conducted.

Regression analysis found that participation in community activities, satisfaction with food quality, and ability to set one’s daily schedule were important predictors of adjustment. Above and beyond these predictors, neuroticism was found to predict adjustment, indicating that personality does play a role in determining adjustment to assisted living. The responses to the open ended question echoed these results and revealed additional salient issues and barriers related to resident perceptions of adjustment. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

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